Claims in a television ad about Maryland state Sen. Jamie Raskin’s environmental record don’t stand up to scrutiny, according to the fact-checking arm of Ballotpedia, the online election archive.
Raskin, one of nine contenders for the 8th Congressional District Democratic nomination, produced an ad last month asserting that he was the only candidate who had sponsored legislation to protect the environment.
“They all talk about climate change, but Sierra Club chooses Jamie Raskin for Congress because only Raskin wrote laws to reduce our carbon footprint and is leading the fight against fracking in Maryland,” the spot said.
“However, those claims do not square with the legislative record,” said an April 7 report by Verbatim, the fact-checking project of Ballotpedia.
Verbatim’s report was in response to a complaint lodged by one of Raskin’s opponents. Del. Kumar Barve, former majority leader (2003-14) and now chairman of the House Environment and Transportation Committee, co-sponsored legislation in 2009 and again in the current General Assembly session setting targets for reduction of Maryland greenhouse gas emissions. As committee chairman, he was a key player in the 2015 passage of a two-year moratorium on fracking.
The report also notes that the Sierra Club endorsed both legislators for reelection in 2014. The two lawmakers received 100 percent ratings on the Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ Environmental Scorecard in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2015. Barve’s lifetime rating from the group is slightly lower — 86 percent to Raskin’s 98 percent.
Raskin said in a statement Sunday that Barve “has an impressive record on environmental issues.” But Raskin added that he had pushed for an outright ban on fracking, not a moratorium.
“The way to fight fracking is to ban it or, at the very least, to impose strict liability on fracking corporations so they can’t escape the costs of paying for damages they cause through contamination of the water table, earthquakes and leaks,” Raskin said.
On its Facebook page Sunday, Barve’s campaign criticized the Sierra Club for endorsing Raskin “on claims now proven erroneous.”
“Shame on Sierra Club,” the campaign said. It demanded that the organization force the Raskin campaign take the ads off the air.