Thursday, October 28, 2010

State Legislators Scored by Green Groups

(Harrisburg) – Sierra Club and Clean Water Action released today a new scorecard for all current Pennsylvania state legislators for their support for environmental laws and regulations over the past two years. State House members and State Senators were scored based on floor votes in the legislature, or other official actions taken by legislators on environmental matters.

“Before voters head to the polls next Tuesday, the Environmental Scorecard is a way to see what a state legislators’ actual record has been over the past two years. Voters who care about the environment should hold their elected officials accountable,” stated Jeff Schmidt, Pennsylvania Chapter Director for the Sierra Club.

The two groups noted that there were large differences between legislators who have a history of supporting environmental positions and those who are clearly opposed. Myron Arnowitt, PA State Director for Clean Water Action stated, “It is striking that the House Environmental Resources Committee Chair, Rep. George (D-Clearfield) had one of the highest scores at 92%, while the senior Republican on the House Environmental Resources Committee, Rep. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) had one of the lowest scores at 13%. This stark difference shows how the outcome of the State House elections could have a big impact on the environment.”

The Environmental Scorecard is available for download at .

Key votes in the Scorecard include votes on the severance tax on natural gas extraction, a moratorium on further gas leasing in state forests, clean energy policy, and state funding for environmental programs. For the first time, legislators received extra points for some non-voting actions, including co-sponsorship of key bills, or by officially supporting or opposing key clean water regulations enacted this year. As a result, a few legislators received scores over 100%.

Sierra Club and Clean Water Action dubbed 13 State House members and 10 State Senators as “Environmental Heroes” for scoring 100% or higher on the Scorecard.

These legislators are:

Rep. Bradford (D) 105%, Briggs (D) 115%, Freeman (D) 106%, Harper (R) 101%, Hornaman (D) 106%, Houghton (D) 106%, Lentz (D) 104%, McIlvaine Smith (D) 106%, Melio (D) 106%, Murphy (D) 105%, Santarsiero (D) 106%, Santoni (D) 101%, Wagner (D) 101%.

Sen. Dinniman (D) 110%, Farnese (D) 115%, Ferlo (D) 115%, Fontana (D) 105%, Hughes (D) 105%, Kasunic (D) 100%, Kitchen 105%, Leach (D) 115%, Tartaglione (D) 103%, Washington (D) 105%.

In the House the highest scoring Republican was Rep. Kate Harper (R) with 101%. High scoring Republicans in the Senate were Sen. Lisa Baker (R) and Sen. Charles McIlhinney (R) both with 90%.

The lowest scores on the House side were fifteen members who scored under 25%. These were: Rep. Brooks (R) 22%, Rep. Causer (R) 13%, Cox (R) 18%, Ellis (R) 22%, Gabler (R) 22%, Hutchinson (R) 13%, Kieger (R) 18%, Knowles (R) 20% Metcalfe (R) 18%, Perry (R) 24%, Pyle (R) 22%, Rapp (R) 13%, Roae (R) 13%, Stevenson (R) 13%, Turzai (R) 22%.

The lowest scores on the Senate side were a group of six Senators who all scored 50%. These were: Sen. Earll (R), Folmer (R), Orie (R), Robbins (R), White, Mary Jo (R), White, Donald (R).

Sierra Club is national environmental organization that was founded in 1892. It has 10 local Groups in Pennsylvania, representing over 24,000 members. The Sierra Club works to protect and restore the natural and human environment through education and advocacy.

Clean Water Action is a national, member supported, environmental organization working to protect our waters, build healthy communities, and make democracy work for all of us. Operating in Pennsylvania for 25 years, Clean Water Action has over 100,000 members in the state.

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