1997, First Session 105th Congress: Environmental Voting Scorecard

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Hotline, Winter 1998

Every year the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) publishes the National Environmental Scorecard outlining the past year’s voting records of the Members of Congress on legislation relating to environmental health and safety, resource conservation, and spending for environmental programs. The selection of the key environmental Scorecard legislation represents the consensus of experts from 27 respected environmental groups. On February 3, 1998, several environmental groups (Sierra Club-Allegheny Group, GASP, Clean Water Action, PennPIRG, and League of Women Voters) participated in a press conference held at the City County Building to discuss the report. During the past year the 105th Congress was much more restrained with regard to anti-environmental initiatives, possibly reflecting the public disapproval unleashed during the blatant anti-environmental assault mobilized in the previous 104th Congress. Much of the pro-environmental action came from outside the Congress in 1997, global warming initiatives and the new Clean Air Standards. Nevertheless, in 1997, industry spent $38 million on clean air and climate change media ads to discredit these pro-environment efforts.

Still there are some members of industry that are speaking up, seeing the opportunities for America as a leader for new non-polluting technologies. The public has always demonstrated their pro-environmental viewpoints. Poll after poll indicates this outlook by the American general public. Even after the above mentioned media campaign against the new clean air standards, 67% of the American public supported strong new clean air standards and 82% said they cared enough about slowing global warming to take personal action.

Our Congressional Members should be representing our positions. Since some Members have low scores on their environmental voting records, it would appear they need to be reminded of the public’s pro-environmental consensus.

Phone calls and letters are not ignored by your representatives. Ask your neighbors to speak up too. The quantity of calls and letters count. Don’t let all the communication come from lobbyists. Of course the ultimate commentary to your representative is your vote! The following are some highlights of the report:

Senate Republican Party Average Score: 16
Senate Democratic Party Average Score: 83
House Republican Party Average Score: 27
House Democratic Party Average Score: 69

Pennsylvania Senators Overall Scores
Santorum: 14
Specter: 43

Pennsylvania Representatives Overall Scores
Fogllietta: 69
Fattah: 69
Borski: 63
Klink: 38
Peterson, J.: 6
Holden: 19
Weldon: 38
Greenwood: 75
Shuster: 6
McDade: 31
Kanjorski: 69
Murtha: 38
Fox: 63
Coyne: 88
McHale: 81
Pitts: 19
Gekas: 19
Doyle: 44
Goodling: 13
Mascara: 44
English: 44

100% = perfect environmental voting record on the scored issues.

See the League of Conservation Voters web site for a description of the scored legislation and how each Member of Congress voted on each issue: http://www.lcv.org/. The site has your representative designated by zip code in case you have forgotten the name.

by Suzanne Seppi, GASP Vice-President