2015 marked ‘The most anti-environmental Congress in history’

2015 marked ‘The most anti-environmental Congress in history’

The League of Conservation Voters released an environmental scorecard Wednesday for what it has called “the most anti-environmental Congress in our nation’s history.”

Since the first Earth Day in 1970, the LCV has written a scorecard after every Congress to evaluate lawmakers’ voting records on important environmental legislation. The sheer number of votes included this year — 25 in the Senate and 35 in the House — reflects “the breadth and depth of attacks both on our cornerstone environmental protections and on the Obama administration’s significant progress,” according to the report.

The LCV used these votes to calculate percentage scores, with higher numbers correlating with a higher degree of environmental responsibility. Notably, Rep. Diana DeGette received a score of 100 percent.

“The votes included in this Scorecard presented members of Congress with a real choice and help distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection,” the report noted. Selected votes focused on energy, climate change, public health, public lands and wildlife conservation, and spending for environmental programs.

Colorado delegations in both House and Senate received average rankings of 40 and 50 percent, respectively, but scores are clearly divided along party lines.

Every Republican scored below 20 percent, and all Democrats scored above 80 percent.

In a statement, Pete Maysmith of environmental group Conservation Colorado thanked those members of Congress who defended the environment. But, he said, “We are very disappointed by those members who voted to attack our environmental laws and recent progress to protect our environment. We expect better from those that we’ve elected to represent our state in Washington, D.C.”

Maysmith congratulated Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner for defending national parks and public lands. He then got specific: “In particular, Senator Bennet has vocally supported the Clean Power Plan, the most important step we can take to move our country towards a clean energy future,” he said. “We urge Senator Gardner to improve his record on commonsense measures to increase clean energy and cut carbon pollution,” he added.

The report notes the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, the passage of the Clean Water Rule and the historic Paris agreement as major victories for the planet. But when it comes to protecting the environment and public heath, the stakes have never been higher.

Here’s how Colorado lawmakers stacked up:

The full report is available in both English and Spanish.

Photo credit: Harley Kingston, Flickr Creative Commons

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Kelsey Ray

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