A Closer Look at Votes in the 2016 Scorecard

Mar 13, 2017

By Darien Davis, Congressional Champions Project Assistant for the League of Conservation Voters

Now, more than ever, we must fight to hold our elected officials accountable for votes on clean air, clean water, and climate action, and the 2016 National Environmental Scorecard is a great tool – tracking how members of Congress vote on the year’s key environmental votes.

In 2016, Congressional Republicans in leadership launched an onslaught of attacks on our bedrock protections for public health, and we witnessed unprecedented attempts to roll back national and global progress to combat climate change.

However, the 2016 Scorecard also demonstrates how our champions in the Senate and in the House are leading the fight to combat climate change, protect our parks, and more. Here are few examples of pro-environment policies included this year.

Senator Brian Schatz (HI) offered two key amendments that were featured in the 2016 Scorecard. One of his amendments would have phased out the billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies for oil and gas companies, and his other amendment would have increased funding for a Department of Energy research program that has spurred transformational breakthroughs in energy technologies, helping the U.S. lead the clean energy transformation.

Senator Tom Udall (NM) offered an amendment included in the Scorecard, which would have raised money to finance clean energy projects, including wind, solar, advanced vehicles, and fuel cells. The rapid deployment of clean energy technologies is one of the best way to fight climate change — reducing pollution and creating jobs along the way.

Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) fought to curb the devastating effects of climate change by offering an amendment during the appropriations process to recognize the need to evaluate the social and economic impacts of carbon pollution associated with a project or rule. This evaluation, also known as the Social Cost of Carbon, is a critical tool that helps the public and decision makers understand the complete costs stemming from carbon pollution.

We all can benefit from the clean energy economy that creates jobs, reduces pollution, and saves consumers money – all while tackling climate change, the greatest challenge of our generation.

The 2016 Scorecard also features several amendments that focus on protecting our parks and public lands. Our champions in Congress are fighting to protect national monuments, ensure responsible management and development of clean energy resources on public lands, and preserve threatened wildlife and habitat.

Congressman Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), the ranking member on the House Committee on Natural Resources, offered three important amendments that were featured in the Scorecard. One amendment would have permanently re-authorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), commonly referred to as “America’s best parks program” because it helps increase access and preservation to parks in communities across the country. He has also fought to protect farmworkers from dangerous pesticides and led the fight to protect the president’s authority to designate national monuments under the Antiquities Act, which provided initial protections for nearly half of America’s national parks.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) is also standing up to attempts to gut laws that protect our parks and public lands. Throughout her time in Congress, she has established a record of protecting our parks, forests, and the Great Lakes. Rep. Dingell offered an amendment to fight a proposed exemption of a broad range of potentially damaging logging activities in the National Forest System from public accountability and review. Forests provide countless benefits for all people in this country, including clean drinking water, outstanding recreational opportunities, fish and wildlife habitat, and job creation.

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) was also featured in the Scorecard for his work to protect the health of our families. He has been instrumental in the fight to provide federal financial assistance to the city of Flint, Michigan to help address the crisis created by toxic lead in the water supply. Specifically, Rep. Kildee led on this issue by introducing an amendment to authorize spending for the city to repair or replace water infrastructure as they attempt to rebuild from this crisis.

The stakes could not be higher, and we need our allies in Congress — along with the public — to stand up to the Trump administration and extremists in Congress who want to block and undermine environmental protections. Check out the 2016 National Environmental Scorecard to see how these leaders, and others in Congress, are fighting to protect our health and the environment here: https://scorecard.lcv.org/