2015 National Environmental Scorecard Reveals Most Anti-Environmental Congress in History

 WASHINGTON, DC – The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) today released the 2015 National Environmental Scorecard tallying the performance of every member of Congress on the year’s key environmental votes. The Scorecard is available in both English and Spanish at scorecard.lcv.org.

“Last year President Obama lead the way to unprecedented victories when it came to confronting the climate crisis, even as he battled the most anti-environmental Congress in American history,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “In 2015, the extreme Republican leadership of both chambers wasted no time pursuing big polluters’ agenda, immediately assaulting both bedrock environmental laws and more recent environment progress that protect our air, water, public lands, and wildlife. Fortunately, environmental champions in Congress and the administration defeated virtually all of these radical attacks.”

“LCV’s Scorecard plays a critical role in educating the public, the media, and members of Congress about which elected officials consistently fight for clean air, clean water, climate action, and open spaces for future generations to enjoy. I consider LCV a key partner in my work in Congress to fend off attacks on our nation’s environmental protections,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, who took part in this morning’s Scorecard release.

The 2015 Scorecard includes votes cast during the first session of the 114th Congress. It includes 35 House votes, which ties the record for the most votes scored in the House for the fourth time in five years. The trend of relentless attacks on environmental protections that began under Speaker Boehner appears unabated under the leadership of Speaker Ryan. The average House Republican score for 2015 was 3 percent, the average House Democrat score was 91 percent.

“Elections have consequences, a fact thrown into sharp relief when control of the Senate shifted to climate change denier Mitch McConnell,” said Karpinski.

Under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Scorecard includes 25 votes in the Senate, the second highest number ever included, coming close to the record of 26 votes in 1977. The Senate’s very first order of business was a bill approving the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL pipeline, and the attacks continued throughout the year. The average Senate Republican score for 2015 was 5 percent, the average Senate Democrat score was 92 percent.

Both chambers seemingly left no environmental issue untouched in 2015, with assaults on the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Antiquities Act.

The good news is that the Scorecard also includes many votes led by environmental allies who stood up for climate change science, clean energy, public lands, wildlife protections, among other issues. Thanks to stalwart support from environmental champions in Congress virtually all of the congressional attacks on the environment were defeated.  The extreme and rarely-used Congressional Review Act “Resolutions of Disapproval” on the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule only required a simple majority vote in the Senate and thus passed the Congress and were promptly vetoed by President Obama.

In spite of relentless congressional attacks, President Obama and his administration made unprecedented progress in 2015, including finalizing the Clean Power Plan, rejecting the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, forging an international climate agreement in Paris, protecting waterways critical to the drinking water of one in three Americans, and preserving additional treasured landscapes.

“We commend the Obama administration and our allies in Congress, and we will redouble our work with them in 2016 to ensure that the United States continues to lead the way when it comes to combating the climate crisis, transitioning to a clean energy economy, and protecting our air, water, lands, and wildlife,” said Karpinski.

For over 40 years, the National Environmental Scorecard issued by LCV has been the nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health, and energy issues. For more information, visit http://scorecard.lcv.org.

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