WASHINGTON, D.C. – The League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which works to turn environmental values into national priorities, today announced that Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) has been named to its 2008 “Dirty Dozen” list.* Stevens holds a lifetime score of only 14% on the LCV environmental scorecard.**
“For forty years in the Senate, Ted Stevens has stood in the way of progress. Today, he literally lives in the house that oil built,” LCV President Gene Karpinski said. “With his scandalous ties to the oil industry finally exposed, Alaska has the chance to let Mr. Stevens retire to that nice house.”
Stevens has consistently voted for billions of dollars in tax breaks for oil companies since 1977. Oil and gas interests have given more than $460,000 in campaign contributions to Stevens’s campaigns. Last July, the FBI raided Stevens’s home in search of records documenting his connection to Bill Allen, an executive of the Veco oil services company, which reaped millions in federal contracts and who was convicted of bribery. Allen’s contracting business doubled the size of Stevens’s home. Stevens is under federal investigation.
“It is one thing to support an industry, it is another to let your corrupt oil industry friends dictate your every vote.” Karpinski continued. “Alaska faces serious effects from global warming and deserves a Senator who takes that seriously.”
The Senator who threatened to resign if Congress failed to spend $453 million on the “Bridge to Nowhere” refuses to vote for any spending on new fuel sources. Beginning in 1981, when he opposed a modest $41 million for investment in solar energy, Stevens opposed or helped to block almost every attempt to increase funding for renewable energy.
“Stevens may have worked hard to bring federal dollars to Alaska, but he won’t be able to earmark enough to reverse the effects of global warming,” Karpinski said. “It’s time for a new kind of politics, one that looks to the challenges of the future rather than the failed policies of the past.”
Though the effects of global warming are apparent to Alaskans every day, Stevens repeatedly denied the existence of global warming throughout his career. Last September, he told the people of Shishmaref, a village that has lost hundreds of feet of coastline to rising sea levels, not to worry, because "We're at the end of a long, long term of warming. 700 to 900 years of increased temperature, a very slow increase. We think we're close to the end of that.” This bizarre view not only ignores the danger to Shishmaref and every other coastal community in America, but also ignores scientific consensus that human activity causes global warming.
Alaska is surrounded by 44,000 miles of shoreline and home to more than 40% of the nation’s surface water resources. Stevens has voted against considering climate science in planning water projects, he has denied funding for land and water conservation, and he has stood in the way of EPA enforcement of the Clean Water Act since he opposed its passage in 1977.
* LCV’s trademark “Dirty Dozen” program targets current and former members of Congress – regardless of party affiliation – who consistently vote against the environment and are running in races where LCV has a serious chance of affecting the outcome. Stevens joins Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R-CO) on this year’s “Dirty Dozen.”
Since the “Dirty Dozen” was launched in 1996, LCV has helped defeat more than half of the candidates named to the list. In 2006 alone, LCV helped oust several supposedly “undefeatable” incumbents, including former House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA), and former Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Montana). Other “Dirty Dozen” members who were defeated in ’06 include: Sens. George Allen (R-VA), Rick Santorum (R-PA), and Jim Talent (R-MO), and Reps. Bob Beauprez (R-CO), Katherine Harris (R-FL), J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), and Charles Taylor (R-NC). In addition, two members of the “Dirty Dozen” resigned: Reps. Tom Delay (R-TX) and Bob Ney (R-OH).
LCV will name the rest of the 2008 Dirty Dozen members in the coming months. Stay tuned. For more on LCV’s “Dirty Dozen” list, visit: http://www.lcv.org/campaigns/dirty-dozen
** The non-partisan LCV Scorecard is a nationally accepted yardstick used to rate Members of Congress on conservation and clean energy issues. Based on key conservation votes in the House and Senate, it is often used by the media to quickly describe a Member’s record. For more information, visit www.lcv.org/scorecard.