‘Lawmaker support for the environment weakens in 2011’: CTLCV

Nov 15th, 2011 | By | Category: Featured Story

Environmental Watchdog Releases 2011 Scorecard    

Lawmakers’ Support for Environment Weakens in 2011: Worst Threats Averted

Hartford, CT (November 14, 2011) – Connecticut lawmakers got caught up in the effort to weaken environmental protections that swept the nation this year.  Legislators’ collective environmental voting records dropped in 2011, according to the annual Environmental Scorecard released today by the bipartisan Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV).2011 scorecard cover

While the number of lawmakers with perfect scores (38) remained in the same range as in recent years, 34 state lawmakers received failing grades this year-more than in 2008, 2009 and 2010 combined. Nevertheless, legislative leaders and environmental advocates worked together to sidestep the most threatening attempts to undo environmental protections and programs.

Advocates helped defeat bills that would have undermined environmental permitting processes, derailed important water management regulations, and mandated ATV trails on state property.  Additionally, Connecticut was one of the few states to preserve funding this year for clean water projects, open space, and farmland preservation.  The Community Investment Act, which supports conservation programs, enjoyed wide backing from the legislative and executive branches.  But advocates had to work through the session and beyond to save the critically important Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).  As in 2010, the Commerce Committee, co-chaired by Senator Gary LeBeau and Representative Jeffrey Berger, was the source of numerous anti-environment bills.

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“There is a continuing need to remind our public officials that Connecticut’s environment is one of the state’s most precious assets.  Protecting it is an essential role of government.”

-G. Kenneth Bernhard, CTLCV Co-Chair

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Scorecard Grades Lawmakers on How They Voted on the Year’s Top Environmental Bills

The annual environmental scorecard grades state senators and representatives on a 0% to 100% scale based on how they vote on important environmental legislation.  This year the scorecard grades legislators’ votes on twelve significant environmental bills that came up during the 2011 legislative session.   Highlights of major  pro- and anti-environmental legislation this year are spelled out in the “Session in Review” section of the Scorecard document.

CTLCV Co-Chair David Bingham summed up the 2011 session effectively, saying “Connecticut’s core group of legislators who understand the necessity of a healthy environment to sustain a healthy economy were sorely tested this year.  Despite the pressures of economic distress, they upheld policies that are critical to providing clean air and water and make Connecticut an inviting state to do business.  But holding the line is insufficient.  There is much still to do, much still at risk.”

CT Environmental Scores, 2008 – 2011

2011 scorecard graph
The chart at right shows that the number of pro-environment lawmakers, with A and B grades,  is on the decline.  The number of neutral and anti-environment lawmakers, with C, D, and F grades, is growing.  The chart tracks the scores for Connecticut’s 187 senators and representatives from 2008 through 2011.

“This trend shows all the more reason why the League’s voice is important at the Legislature to help preserve Connecticut’s natural resources,” said CTLCV Executive Director, Lori Brown.

Download the Full Scorecard at www.ctlcv.org/scorecard.html 

Citizens who want a sense of how their own state legislators performed on environmental issues this year should take a close look at their grades.

The full list of legislators’ environmental scores follows.  For explanations of the environmental bills analyzed for the scorecard, a rundown on the 2011 legislative session and other analyses, please visit www.ctlcv.org/scorecard.html.

 

About the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters

Formed in 1998, the bipartisan Connecticut League of Conservation Voters focuses on getting smart, sustainable environmental policies enacted in Connecticut.

CTLCV works with Connecticut’s environmental advocates on laws that affect Connecticut’s air, water, wildlife, open space, transportation, energy choices, and health.  CTLCV educates state legislators about these bills through Scorecard Alerts and urges them to cast a pro-environment vote.

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