Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

February 16, 2014

George Weeks: Conservation ratings for state lawmakers

Michigan Democrats Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow are among U.S. senators atop the 2013 National Environmental Scorecard released last week by the League of Conservation Voters.

But their 100 percent score in the LCV ranking contrasts with a 37 percent overall score for Michigan’s 15-member House delegation, which ranks slightly above neighbors Indiana and Ohio and below Wisconsin and Minnesota (which had a 49% score.)

The Michigan LCV said the national scorecard “reflects a jarring disconnect between a record-breaking year of climate change impacts and an unprecedented amount of anti-environmental legislation, particularly from the U.S. House of Representatives, during the first session of the 113th Congress.”

Most of the state’s GOP House members had 4 percent “correct” votes on the LCV ranking, including those representing northern Michigan — Reps. Dan Benishek of Crystal Falls, Dave Camp of Midland and Bill Huizenga of Zeeland.

Rep. Gary Peters of Oakland County, Democratic nominee-in-waiting to replace Levin, was among four congressmen ranked in the 90s.

“Michigan thrives on the health and quality of its natural resources, and we are proud to have allies in Congress such as Senator Stabenow and Congressman Peters who put Pure Michigan values first,” said Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director for Michigan LCV.

“On the other hand, despite a year of floods, droughts, and record-low lake levels, climate change was clearly not on the minds of much of Michigan’s House delegation where the average score of 37 percent is troubling.”

Her announcement said the scorecard “covers votes during the first session of the 113th Congress. It includes 13 Senate votes and 28 House votes on issues ranging from public health protections and clean energy to land and wildlife conservation. It comes on the heels of another record-breaking year of climate change impacts with extreme and erratic weather that caused seven separate weather and climate disasters with price tags exceeding $1 billion.”

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