Democrat Martha Robertson, whose struggling campaign to unseat incumbent Tom Reed has struggled (and then some), didn’t need any more problems than she already had.

But the Sierra Club, which has endorsed Robertson, just created more problems by suing to prevent conversion of a coal fired power plant in western New York to gas. That would result in the power plant shutting down, killing jobs.

Tom Reed wasted no time in asserting that this reflected Robertson’s “extreme liberal agenda“:

Reed Robertson NRG Sierra Club lawsuit

Tom Reed today vowed to stand firm against Martha Robertson’s extreme liberal agenda and the devastating actions of Robertson’s liberal supporters and campaign donors who have filed suit against the Dunkirk NRG conversion in Chautauqua County.

The Sierra Club has joined with Ratepayers and Community Interveners to file suit with the State Supreme Court to derail the $140 million dollar project to convert the NRG power plant to natural gas. The suit threatens the bipartisan solution supported by Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer – likewise, Robertson’s supporters also threaten local jobs with a potential devastating effect on Chautauqua County.

The Sierra Club has endorsed Martha Robertson and contributed thousands to her campaign. Similarly, the Ratepayers and Community Interveners group consists of 51 members, primarily residing in Tompkins County, that have donated over $10,000 dollars to Martha Robertson’s campaign.

Robertson has distanced herself from the Sierra Club lawsuit, but the damage is done.

Dunkirk Power Plant Lawsuit Gets Political:

The Sierra Club is suing the state Public Service Commission over plans to re-power the Dunkirk power plant. Those plans call for the plant to be converted from coal to natural gas.

The lawsuit will delay the switch-over, and that is not sitting well with some lawmakers in the Southern Tier….

Congressman Tom Reed joined forces with [Chautauqua County Assemblyman Andy] Goodell Thursday afternoon to voice opposition to the Sierra Club’s lawsuit. It aims to stop the NRG power plant in Dunkirk from converting to natural gas….

“I’m confident that we will win, and we will send the message that Chautauqua County knows what’s best for its residents and its citizens, but we cannot underestimate the risk that this lawsuit represents to our community,” said Reed.

Last December, Governor Cuomo announced the plan for the plant which includes adding 50 jobs in the area. The plant is the largest taxpayer in Chautauqua County and provides more than 40-percent of Dunkirk’s tax revenue….

“As my opponent has said, you know, she was very clear on the record when she came to Dunkirk and she tried to say she supported repowering, but just so we’re clear, she said supporting repowering through biomass generation. Not natural gas,” said Reed.

But Robertson’s campaign made it clear Thursday night that she does not support the lawsuit.

The Sierra Club, by the way, has endorsed her as a candidate.

Robertson told us, “While I understand the Sierra Club’s position, I also know that these jobs need to stay right here at home. I don’t have anything to do with this lawsuit and I do not think it’s in the best interest of working people in Chautauqua County. “

The problem for Robertson is that this all fits into a theme Reed has been pushing, that Robertson is an “extreme Ithaca liberal”:

Update: Reed’s campaign has started a petition drive, Tell Martha to Stop Killing Jobs.

Martha Robertson Dunkirk Power Plant

Video report (autorun) at the link.