still shot from TV adThe Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund is bashing representatives who voted against the House climate bill as “villains” and lauding reps who voted for it as “heroes” in a new campaign.

With TV and newspaper ads and a website, the campaign is aimed at states whose senators are on the fence about passing a climate bill this year — Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

“We really felt like now is the time for us to draw a line in the sand,” NRDC Action Fund director Heather Taylor told Grist. “What we want to do is make sure the Senate understands that we are going to be clearly identifying who’s part of the problem and who’s part of the solution. Hopefully it’s going to immediately influence the Senate vote.”

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.

The ads will air on local TV for the next two weeks, and print versions are running in local papers on Wednesday and Sunday. They tout the House climate bill’s potential to create green jobs, and urge constituents to call their senators and ask them to support a similar bill this year.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Taylor pointed to specific senators the campaign hopes to sway: Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Jim Webb (D-Va.). “We definitely think those are swings, and we think there were very good examples of heroes and villains in [their] states for us to draw upon,” she said.

The half-a-million-dollar ad buy is the first of its kind by NRDC Action Fund, which has not in the past weighed in on specific candidates nor waged such a public campaign. The action fund’s parent organization, NRDC, focuses on inside-the-Beltway policy making, working closely with legislators to shape environmental law. NRDC was one of the key groups involved in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, the enviro-business coalition that played a significant role in shaping the House climate bill.

“We thought it was so important right now to be active not only inside the Beltway but also outside the Beltway,” said Taylor. “We hope we can be more frank in our messaging.”

Of the representatives targeted in the ads, Taylor said, “I think these members knew. They completely and clearly understood that this was the highest priority of the environmental community … This is when it counted. This is when there really were going to be repercussions. It’s very important that constituents know that their members are not listening to them.”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Here is the TV ad praising Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) for voting in favor of the House bill:

And here’s the ad criticizing Virginia Reps. Frank Wolf (R) and Glenn Nye (D) for voting against it: