WASHINGTON, DC – The League of Conservation Voters today took the highly unusual step of releasing a Special Edition National Environmental Scorecard that includes votes on key environmental, public health, and energy amendments as well as final passage of legislation to automatically approve the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (S.1). This is only the second time that LCV has released a Special Edition Scorecard on votes on a single piece of legislation.
“This one just couldn’t wait until the end of the year. We want to make sure people know right now that Republican leaders chose as their very first priority for 2015 a bill designed simply to benefit their polluter allies. We’ve taken the extraordinary step of releasing a special edition National Environmental Scorecard because many votes on this bill presented senators with a clear choice: stand with polluters and double down on dirty energy at the expense of our environment, our health, and our climate, or promote a clean energy future. While far too many senators chose the former, we thank those senators who stood up to polluters and sided with the significant majority of the American people who support the science of climate change and want to protect our environment for future generations,” said Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters.
“I’m glad to join the League of Conservation Voters to bring attention to what happened with this bill,” Sen. Cantwell said. “If we had spent the last month focusing on approving energy tax credits or engaging in a broader discussion on energy policy, we would be one step closer to diversifying our energy sources and producing more jobs than what Keystone would provide. I hope the President vetoes this bill and I hope Congress can move forward on a broad energy plan to empower our nation into the 21st century.”
The Special Edition Scorecard scores votes on 18 amendments and double-scores final passage of the bill, reflecting the importance of the underlying Keystone XL legislation. The 20 votes range from acknowledging that climate change is significantly caused by humans, to promoting oil drilling on our public lands, to supporting clean energy tax credits, to removing protections for endangered species.
Thirty-two senators earned a score of 100%, and 37 senators earned a score of 0%. The average Democratic score was 93% and the average Republican score was just under 5%.
One particularly noteworthy vote was Senator Brian Schatz’s amendment on climate science which exposed a rift between the climate-denying Majority leadership and five Republican senators who recognized that acknowledging climate science is both good policy and good politics. Another rift was revealed on a bipartisan amendment that would reauthorize America’s premier conservation program—the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The bill registered more than 60 yes votes during the roll call, but the Republican leadership ensured that it came one vote short of passage so that it was not included in the underlying bill.
LCV will continue to stand with President Obama when he vetoes this legislation, and we work with our allies in Congress to sustain his veto. Moreover, we’re more confident than ever that President Obama will continue to build on his incredible climate leadership by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all. We will also continue to work with President Obama and our allies in Congress to block future anti-environmental legislation that Republican leaders have already threatened to advance regardless of how out of step it is with the American public and a number of their own members.
The votes included in this Special Edition National Environmental Scorecard will not affect a senator’s lifetime LCV score, though it’s highly likely that some of these votes will be included in the 2015 National Environmental Scorecard. 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.
LCV Publica la Edición Especial de la Tarjeta de Evaluación del Medio Ambiente de los Votos para la Legislación de Keystone XL