Activists say Congress most hostile to environment it’s been in 40 years
Congress scored historic low on League of Conservation Voters’ annual report card, reinforcing political divide on green issues
The last Congress was the most hostile to environmental causes in 40 years, the League of Conservation Voters said on Wednesday in its annual report card on members’ voting patterns.
The findings follow dozens of votes in the House to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority, defund climate science education, weaken drinking water standards, open up the Arctic for drilling, remove protections for endangered sea turtles and fast-track theKeystone XL pipeline project, among other issues.
The House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans and taking its lead from Tea Party conservatives, hit a new low of 42% on the group’s rating system.
The Senate, where Democrats cling to a slim majority, did better with a 56% score.
But in a conference call with reporters, the League was scathing about voting patterns in the House, accusing Republicans of systematically blocking action on climate change or other environmental concerns, even during last year’s extreme storms and record drought.
“The best that can be said about this session of the 112th Congress is that it’s over,” the group’s president, Gene Karpinski, said on the conference call.
The latest report card reinforces a growing political divide on environmental issues in Congress.
League of Conservation Voters staffers told the call that votes that would have passed easily a number of years ago were now deemed highly contentious – too risky for Republicans to take on.
Wednesday’s findings reinforce a trend noted by Harvard professor Theda Skocpol who noted a sharp shift away from environmental causes by Republican members of Congress over the last five or six years.
Those divisions made it impossible for Congress to pass climate change legislation, Skocpol argued.
Now the dividing lines were even more clearly drawn, the report card said. Some 175 members of the House now qualified for the League’s lowest score: earning 10% or less.