*Scorecard Serves as a Preview of Environmental Protections at Risk in the Trump Era*
**Full Scorecard available here**
WASHINGTON, DC – The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released today the 2016 National Environmental Scorecard evaluating 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.
“In the final year of the Obama administration, the Republican leadership in Congress continued its relentless assault on both bedrock environmental protections and recent progress even as we experienced the hottest year on record – for the third year in a row – and world leaders came together on Earth Day to sign the historic climate agreement reached in Paris,” said LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld.
“Fortunately, President Obama and our allies in Congress beat back the vast majority of the attacks on critical environmental protections and stood up for the health of our families, communities of color on the frontlines of climate change, and the international consensus to take action on climate,” said LCV Senior Vice President for Community and Civic Engagement Jennifer Allen.
LCV released the 2016 Scorecard today on a telephone press conference along with Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), the Ranking Member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), a new member on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
“Over the past eight years, our country has taken bold steps to become a world leader in efforts to protect our planet for future generations. In the opening weeks of this new Administration, we are already seeing reckless challenges to this progress and constant threats of more to come. But now is not the time to renege on our obligations as stewards of the environment and guardians of public health. We will not shy away from the hard work of preserving past successes and fighting to continue moving our country forward,” said Senator Carper (D-Delaware).
“As an emergency physician and public health expert, I know that environmental health is undeniably linked to human health. That’s why it’s critical that we protect our public lands and wildlife, ensure clean air to breathe and water to drink, and fund critical research that will lead to better environmental health.” said Dr. Ruiz. “I am humbled to receive a 100% on this year’s National Environmental Scorecard and look forward to fighting for our health and environment for generations to come.”
The 2016 Scorecard scores votes cast during the second session of the 114th Congress. It includes 38 House votes, setting a new record for the most votes scored in the House and reflecting that, under Speaker Paul Ryan, the U.S. House remains the most anti-environmental in history. The average House Republican score for 2016 was five percent, while the average House Democrat score was ninety-four percent.
The Scorecard includes 17 votes in the Senate. Under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senate joined the House to attack critical environmental safeguards. The average Senate Republican score for 2016 was fourteen percent, while the average Senate Democrat score was ninety-five percent.
Under unified Republican control, votes in Congress included attacks on many of our cornerstone environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act, and the Antiquities Act. From working to block access to the courts to attacking individual species to trying to undermine clean energy advancements, the Republican-led Congress pulled out all the stops to push a polluter-friendly agenda.
At the same time, twenty-two Republicans (14 in the House, 8 in the Senate) scored over 25% this year, including three who scored 50% or higher, a significant increase from the past few Scorecards. By comparison, only six scored over 25 percent in 2015 and only four in 2014.
“While Republican leadership worked to execute the wish list of Big Polluters, it was heartening to see more Republicans stand up for their constituents and buck their party leadership by voting in favor of environmental protection more often last year,” said Sittenfeld.
Meanwhile, the number of environmental champions in Congress continues to grow, and they are becoming more vocal and effective than ever before. Our environmental allies stood up for our clean air and water, public lands, climate science, wildlife, and more. They fought for the health of our families and voted against the interests of Big Polluters. For example, more than 200 current and former members of Congress, spanning 38 states, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the EPA’s landmark Clean Power Plan. In addition, the ongoing crisis in Flint, Michigan received bipartisan attention, and badly-needed funding was finally approved at the end of the year.
As President Obama’s administration came to a close, he cemented his legacy as our greenest president. He led the United States to make more progress than ever on climate change and spurred nations around the world to take collective action as part of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, permanently protected more acres of land and water than any other president in U.S history while preserving more places that tell the story of all people in this country, and fought off the seemingly endless parade of attacks on our environmental protections from the Republican-led Congress.
The 2016 Scorecard is being released at a time when attacks on the environment are already coming fast and furious from both the Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress. While the attacks contained in the 2016 Scorecard were largely prevented from becoming law thanks to Democratic opposition in the Senate and President Obama’s veto pen, those attacks serve as a preview of what’s at stake now that polluters have an ally in the White House who can be expected to sign these anti-environmental pieces of legislation should they reach his desk. Indeed, both houses of Congress have already passed a resolution eliminating the Stream Protection Rule using the radical Congressional Review Act (CRA) legislative tool, and the House has passed a similar measure voiding the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Waste Reduction Rule—both of which are the subject of votes in the 2016 Scorecard.
“If you want to know which protections for your health and environment are at risk in the Trump era, look no further than the 2016 Scorecard,” said LCV Deputy Legislative Director Alex Taurel. “This is the playbook corporate polluters will try to enact into law in the coming years, no matter the impact on public health or the environment. Rest assured, LCV pledges to be there every step of the way to resist these attacks on our air, water, lands, and wildlife.”
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 https://scorecard.lcv.org.