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Washington, D.C. — Today the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released its 2020 National Environmental Scorecard at a press conference with Majority Leader Schumer, Sen. Cory Booker and Chair Kathy Castor. The 2020 Scorecard analyzes the vastly different approaches the House and Senate took on environmental progress and the four interwoven crises plaguing our nation: the coronavirus pandemic, economic inequality, racial injustice, and climate change. While the diverse, pro-environment majority in the House of Representatives prioritized climate action and relief for the communities of color and low-income communities on the front lines of the crises, the Republican-controlled Senate blocked progress at almost every turn.
The Scorecard is the primary yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of members of Congress and is available for download here, in Spanish here, and online at scorecard.lcv.org. 2020 was a year unlike any other, and the 2020 National Environmental Scorecard shows that the pro-environment-led House took intersectional action to address the immediate impacts of the coronavirus pandemic while also laying the groundwork for transformative investments to build a more just, equitable, and sustainable society. While the nation suffered, then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stood in the way of badly needed progress time and again and instead spent most of the year jamming through extreme and partisan nominations both to the federal bench and to the Trump administration.
“During an incredibly difficult and unprecedented year and with the most anti-environmental president ever, pro-environment members of the 116th Congress paved the way for vitally important action on climate and environmental justice,” said LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld. “Now the pro-environment trifecta — led by President Biden and Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Schumer — is poised to enact transformational progress that results in healthy, equitable, safe communities powered by clean energy.”
“I am honored to receive this top rating from the League of Conservation Voters. Combating the harmful effects of climate change, fighting for clean air to breathe and water to drink, and protecting our precious natural resources are the greatest challenges facing our planet,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “ I will keep working to promote sound policies and strong environmental protections to protect the public health and preserve a green and healthy planet for our children and grandchildren.”
“The health of our environment, economy, and our communities tomorrow rely on the bold and decisive action we take today, which is why I will always prioritize the fight for climate and environmental justice in order to ensure that communities of color, low income communities and Indigenous communities are able to thrive,” said Senator Cory Booker. “My 2020 LCV score reflects that commitment and I look forward to continuing this critical work in the 117th Congress alongside the League of Conservation Voters.”
“Despite the unprecedented challenges that 2020 threw at us, my colleagues in Congress worked hard to advance public health, climate, and environmental solutions for American families – and we are proud of impactful victories for the people and the planet,” said Representative Kathy Castor, Chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. “In 2020, we released our historic Climate Crisis Action Plan, creating a roadmap for Congress to build a clean energy economy that will put Americans back to work and help secure environmental justice. We also took vital steps to protect public health and safeguard our public lands, including passing bipartisan measures to phase down the use of dangerous hydrofluorocarbons and secure permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In 2021 and beyond, I look forward to working with thoughtful members of Congress and the Biden administration on continued progress for America’s workers and families.”
The 2020 Scorecard includes 21 House votes that advanced pro-environmental and pro-democracy bills, provisions, and government funding. In stark contrast, in the Senate, for the fourth year in a row, the majority of the 13 scored votes were extreme and partisan nominations both to the federal bench and the Trump administration.
The same damaging system—racism—is at the root of climate injustice, environmental injustice, and police brutality. The 2020 Scorecard includes votes that reflect our belief that these struggles are intertwined and must be addressed together. For the first time, the 2020 National Environmental Scorecard includes votes on removing public monuments to racism and policing and criminal justice reform.
While the House majority leadership scored an average of 100 percent, and the House passed legislation to combat racial injustice, under Mitch McConnell’s leadership, the Senate utterly failed people of color. McConnell and his leadership team scored an average of just 14 percent on the 2020 Scorecard, failing to respond to our nation’s crises and further perpetuating the racist systems at the root of environmental injustice.
At the outset of the new administration and the 117th Congress, the outlook for people and the planet is much brighter. Leader Chuck Schumer and the new Senate leadership scored an average of 90 percent on the 2020 Scorecard, and the new pro-environment Senate majority has already made clear that economic recovery and climate solutions go hand in hand and that they will prioritize environmental justice, clean energy jobs, and green infrastructure. In addition, it’s clear that the health of our environment and our democracy are inextricably linked, and, with the early introduction of the For the People Act, S.1. and H.R. 1, and S.51 and H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, it’s clear democracy reform will be a priority in the 117th Congress.
Earlier this month, using Scorecard data, LCV released a new report examining the environmental records and leadership of members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC).