The scores are in.
And state legislators let their environmental grades slip in the 2010 legislative session, according to the 2010 Annual Environmental Scorecard released on August 5 by the bipartisan Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV). Citizens who want a sense of how their state legislators performed on environmental issues this year should take a look at their rankings.
In the face of record-setting budget deficits, many legislators and business leaders seemed inclined to blame the economic downturn on the Department of Environmental Protection, in particular, and environmental regulations, in general. In the first months of the session, the state's most important protections for air, water, and land appeared at risk of dissolution.
“This year was especially trying. Lobbyists that have fought every year to weaken environmental laws and regulations for the benefit of a few industries found an opportunity for their false claims that protecting the environment was somehow an obstacle to Connecticut’s future,” said CTLCV’s Executive Director, Lori Brown. “History has always shown the opposite. A clean environment makes for a good economy.”
"Clean water, clean air, and protected open spaces are among the qualities that make Connecticut such a desirable place to live and work. These precious environmental resources need to be protected, even during hard economic times, not needlessly squandered in short-sighted and harmful policy changes, said Martha Phillips, CTLCV Co-Chair.
Scorecard Grades Lawmakers on their Environmental Voting Records
CTLCV grades all state senators and representatives on a 0% to 100% scale based on their votes on important environmental legislation. The 2010 Environmental Scorecard grades legislators on their votes on nine major environmental bills, including bills on energy, recycling, green jobs, toxics, and environmental rollback.
Number of Legislators with Good Grades Drops by 15%
In 2009, 82% of the legislature earned A’s or B’s on their environmental voting records. This year, however, the percentage of legislators scoring A’s or B’s dropped to 67%. Fifty-one legislators scored a perfect 100% by casting pro-environment votes on each of the bills that CTLCV scored. Another 33 legislators earned A’s on their environmental voting records. CTLCV applauds those individuals for standing firm in their support for a clean, healthy environment.
In contrast, the number of legislators who scored C’s, D’s, or F’s increased this year, from a total of 33 (18%) in 2009 to a total of 61 (33%) in 2010.
Although the outlook for the environment was grim at the start of the 2010 legislative session, CTLCV worked with other environmental advocacy groups to stop or at least minimize anti-environment efforts. In the end, the General Assembly adjourned without doing serious damage to environmental protection laws, and even extended them in some cases.
“We managed to thwart the worst of the rollbacks this year. But I have no doubt the anti-environmental forces will be back in 2011. That is why we should be very selective about who we elect this November. The people we elect will be making those key policy decisions and we want them on our side,” said Brown.