Washington, D.C. Feb. 27, 2018 – The League of Conservation Voters today released the 2017 National Environmental Scorecard, the primary yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of every member of Congress. The Scorecard is available for download here, in Spanish here, and online at scorecard.lcv.org.
Senate Republicans hit a record low with an abysmal 1 percent average score, making them the lowest scoring Senate caucus since LCV began tracking environmental votes nearly 50 years ago. House Democrats also broke records by tying their previous average high of 94 percent. Graphics outlining those trends can be found here.
LCV scored votes on a record-breaking number of nominations, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt who sued the EPA 14 times as Attorney General of Oklahoma and is now aggressively overturning commonsense environmental and public health protections from the inside. While previous presidents have nominated less controversial figures, Trump’s presidency has included an unprecedented array of pro-polluter Cabinet and sub-Cabinet officials who have wasted no time implementing his dangerous agenda.
“This Republican-led Congress repeatedly refused to stand up to President Trump’s extreme anti-environmental agenda and his attacks on our air, water, land and wildlife,” said LCV Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld. “In a year where devastating hurricanes and wildfires showed why the need to fight climate change is so urgent, Congress turned their backs on our families by confirming climate change deniers to top environmental posts, voting to reverse vitally important clean water protections, passing an abomination of a tax package that opens up the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and so much more.”
Following Republican leadership’s cue, 124 House and 46 Senate Republicans received scores of zero percent — meaning they voted against the environment and public health at every opportunity. On the Democratic side, 27 senators and 84 House members earned perfect scores. A detailed overview of the 2017 Scorecard — including descriptions of each voted included — can be found here.
“The green firewall in the U.S. Senate was crucial to blocking some of 2017’s most egregious environmental attacks, with two key victories being stopping an attempt to permanently gut limits on methane pollution and the withdrawal of chemical industry shill Michael Dourson’s nomination to oversee chemical safety at the EPA,” said LCV Vice President for Government Affairs Sara Chieffo. “And while the Trump administration and Republican-led Congress launched a relentless assault on core environmental protections, the rest of the country is moving toward a clean energy future. LCV and our state LCV partners are more determined than ever to build on local progress in the months and years to come.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) joined LCV on a press call today to roll out the Scorecard and highlight how environmental champions in Congress are fighting the Trump administration and Republican leadership’s numerous attacks on our communities.
“Now more than ever we need to hold members of Congress accountable for their votes on vital protections for Americans’ health and safety, and on nominees handpicked to tear down those protections,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “That’s why this scorecard is so important. I’m proud to earn a perfect score fighting back against the Trump administration and the polluters backing it.”
“Combating the effect of climate change and preserving our natural resources for future generations is a guiding principle of my voting record,” said Congressman Salud Carbajal. “As the administration threatens our public lands and opens our coastlines to offshore drilling, I will continue to proudly stand up for environmental protections. We must take action – the health of our children, our economy, and our national security depend on it.”
The 2017 Scorecard measures votes cast during the first session of the 115th Congress. It includes 35 House votes, with an average House Republican score of 5 percent and an average House Democrat score of 94 percent. Republicans in the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus averaged 16 percent, slightly higher than their caucus but far from what’s needed to address the climate crisis. While 14 House Republicans scored over 25 percent, that number dropped significantly from last year’s recent high of 22.
The Scorecard includes 19 Senate votes, including eight votes to confirm anti-environmental Cabinet and sub-Cabinet nominees and two votes on judicial nominees. Senate Democrats averaged 93 percent, while Senate Republicans averaged a record low of 1 percent.
LCV has published a National Environmental Scorecard every Congress since 1970. The Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from about 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which members of Congress should be scored. LCV scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including energy, climate change, public health, public lands and wildlife conservation, and spending for environmental programs. The votes included in the Scorecard presented members of Congress with a real choice and help distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection. More information on individual votes and the Scorecard archive can be found at scorecard.lcv.org.