A pair of environmental groups have launched ad campaigns against Sen. Mark Kirk for his opposition to an amendment to a public health and clean air bill in Congress.
The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council have both unveiled their ad campaigns this week, calling out Kirk's vote against an amendment that would no longer allow states to opt out of federal rules regarding power plants and the environment. Kirk's vote was key to the amendment's failure.
The NRDC's $1 million advertisement will air across the Chicago area starting Tuesday, and the Sierra Club's campaign includes full-page newspaper ads, including one in the Daily Herald, and targeted digital ads throughout the week in both Chicago and Washington, D.C.
In response to the NRDC ad, Kirk's campaign manager Kevin Artl released a statement Tuesday.
"Senator Kirk has shown bold, independent action in Congress to reduce carbon emissions, protect against air pollution and enact aggressive measures to protect our great lakes from polluters and oil spills," Artl said. "The recent partisan attack ads by D.C. special interest groups, the same groups that once praised Senator Kirk's work to protect the environment, are not only false but sickening, beyond the pale of reasonable discussion and should be taken down."
The NRDC has accused Kirk of making "climate change worse and (harming) the health of Illinoisans" by voting against the amendment.
Although Kirk opposed the amendment to the environmental legislation, he did champion a ban on sewage dumping into the Great Lakes by 2035, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Sierra Club launched a similar attack on Kirk, also citing his opposition to the clean air amendment.
"Senator Mark Kirk voted repeatedly against the health of Illinois families by attacking the Clean Power Plan, the first ever steps to limit carbon pollution from dirty, coal-fired power plans," Liz Perera, the Sierra Club climate policy director, said in a statement. "The Clean Power Plan's efforts to curb carbon pollution will help prevent up to 6,600 deaths and up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children every year."
Kirk will likely run against Rep. Tammy Duckworth or former Urban League President and CEO Andrea Zopp in the 2016 election for his Senate seat.