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12:25 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

League Of Conservation Voters Releases Scorecard On Congressional Environmental Votes

Credit League of Conservation Voters

The New York League of Conservation Voters released its annual environmental review of the state’s Congressional representatives.

The League of Conservation Voters has published a scorecard on Congressional environmental votes since 1970. It’s published in consultation with other environmental groups, including the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Audubon Society and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
League of Conservation Voters Legislative Director Sara Chieffo says this scorecard comes in the wake of another year of another record breaking climate change impacts.  “Climate change impacts are really here now. And despite this reality the U.S. House of Representatives continued its unprecedented assault on the environment and public health. A sad truth is it’s a continuation of the assault we saw in the 122th Congress. We viewed that House as the most anti-environmental ever. And this scorecard is yet another disturbing reflection to the extent to which the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives is catering to the extreme Tea Party climate change deniers.”

Chieffo outlined the overall Congressional scores, noting that 30 Senators and three House members received a perfect score. Five Senators and 48 representatives received a 0. The average score in the House was 43 percent; in the Senate it was 58 percent.   “Among the most egregious attacks we saw in the House were efforts to roll back cornerstone environmental laws. These include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. We saw yet again efforts to legislatively approve the risky Keystone Excel tar sands pipeline, to increase harmful drilling and fracking across the country and, appalling, to continue subsidizing dirty fossil fuels. Now the good news and some reason for optimism is that the U.S. Senate and the Obama Administration blocked the vast majority of these attacks on our environment.”

New York’s scorecard was released in conjunction with the national League of Conservation Voters 2013 national Environmental Scorecard of the 113th Congress.

NY League of Conservation Voters President Marcia Bystryn reports that most of New York’s representatives tended to vote in favor of the environment and clean energy.  “Both of our senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, had perfect scores in 2013. The results weren’t quite as green for New York’s delegation to the House of Representatives, where we saw a very wide range of scores. At the top seven members scored a 96:  Nydia Velazquez, Yvette Clark, Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Charlie Rangel and Joe Crowley. All representing NYC districts. And Nita Lowey representing northern Westchester County and the lower Hudson Valley. At the bottom, scoring just 4 points, Tom Reed in the Southern Tier and Chris Collins in western New York.”

Bystryn found clear trends in Congress as a whole to vote along party lines, but said in New York, that was not followed by either party.   “Take a look for example at Chris Gibson, a Republican who represents the 19th district in the Hudson Valley. He scored a 43 which is far from perfect. But Congressman Gibson had the highest score of any Republican House member in the nation, underscoring the environmental leanings of the Hudson Valley.”

While the average score for the Republican caucus in the House was five percent, the House average was 43 percent. Bystryn notes that New York’s House average was 72 percent .   “There is a range of voting performance within the two parties. We, for example, plan on working with Sean Maloney to get his score up. He had a 79, which for a Democrat is lower than we’d like. So, there’s work on both sides.”
             
The scorecard highlights 28 votes in the House and 13 votes in the Senate, using a scale of 0 to 100 based on the number of pro-environment votes cast divided by the total number of votes scored.

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