Vermont Conservation Voters

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Vermont Congressional Delegation Scores High on 2014 National Environmental Scorecard

Montpelier, VT Vermont’s Congressional delegation received high marks today from the National League of Conservation Voters for their pro-environment voting records in LCV’s 2014 National Environmental Scorecard.

The delegation’s voting record stands in sharp contrast to a national trend of anti-environmental voting, particularly in the House of Representatives, according to Lauren Hierl, the political director at the Vermont Conservation Voters.

“Once again, far too many members of Congress were complicit in extreme attacks on our environment, but allies like Rep. Peter Welch, and Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders stand out for putting Vermont values first,” she said.

“Many of the environmental challenges facing the nation as a whole are the same as those we face in Vermont: climate change, clean energy, and clean water. We commend Congressman Welch and Sens. Leahy and Sanders for their leadership on these critical issues – issues that Vermonters care about – at the federal level.” Hierl noted that Sen. Leahy, for example, has fought hard for millions of dollars for Lake Champlain cleanup.

The report card, which is available here, covers relevant votes in each chamber in 2014. Sens. Leahy and Sanders both received 80 percent and Rep. Welch scored 91 percent. For the entirety of the 113th Congress – which ran from January 3, 2013 to January 3, 2015 – both Senators had a score of 94% while Congressman Welch scored 92%.  Lifetime scores are as follows: Leahy- 93 percent, Sanders- 95 percent, and Welch- 93 percent.

One reason Vermont’s delegation scored less than 100 percent in 2014 was the fact they voted to slow down the phase-in of flood insurance reforms. While the reforms are important from an environmental perspective, the rate at which increased insurance premiums would have hit some Vermont property owners – including hundreds of Vermonters whose homes were lost or severely damaged by Tropical Storm Irene – especially hard, Hierl said.

The 2014 Scorecard covers the top environment, energy and public health votes cast during the second session of the 113th Congress. The House leadership has engaged in relentless assaults on everything from climate action and clean water to endangered species and public lands. Fortunately, environmental champions in the Senate blocked the House’s polluter agenda. The Senate’s ability to stop these environmental assaults, in part, accounts for the unusually low number of five Senate votes in the 2014 Scorecard.

“This year’s Scorecard shows that while the world experienced the hottest year on record, the U.S. House leadership continued its reckless assault on our environment, proving themselves nothing more than a carbon copy of the past three years,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “Fortunately, we have a force of environmental allies, including the president, as well as many state elected officials, who are intent on pulling us closer and closer to meeting the greatest challenge of our time—climate change.”

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 has released an interactive National Environmental Scorecard, which allows users to easily see how every member of Congress voted since the launch of LCV’s first Scorecard in 1971.

Download a copy of the Scorecard at http://scorecard.lcv.org