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The League of Conservation Voters on Wednesday released its annual scorecard ranking lawmakers for “pro-environment” votes in 2021, a key data point in the organization’s decision to aid or oppose congressional incumbents during the November midterm elections.
Democrats, particularly those representing coastal states, earned the highest scores. The House congressional delegations to receive perfect ratings on the scorecard were Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Senate delegations with perfect scores included many of the same states, as well as California, Illinois, New York, and Virginia.
All but two Democrats leading key energy and environment committees in the House and Senate received perfect scores. The outliers who received lower scores were Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), who leads the Agriculture panel.
Democratic lawmakers Sen. Alex Padilla (Calif.), and Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.) and Teresa Leger Fernandez (N.M.) joined the group on Wednesday to unveil the scorecard, ticking off the party’s 2021 legislative accomplishments on the environment. “Let’s not get it twisted, we still have a lot of work to do,” said Blunt Rochester, who along with Padilla and Leger Fernandez, received a perfect score.
“Congress must pass legislation to end our use of fossil fuels and do so in every sector,” said Padilla during the press briefing.
Republicans with higher, though not perfect, scores according to LCV’s pro-environment criteria included Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and Fred Upton (Mich.).
The release of the scorecard comes a day after President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech, which touched on rising energy prices and the disruption in the global energy market exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Biden on Tuesday also touted his administration’s track record on environmental stewardship and reiterated his call for policies that advance clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Democrats have faced internal disagreement over balancing the party’s energy policy platform between surging prices and environmental goals.
LCV, which has been compiling congressional votes and scoring them since 1970, assessed 34 Senate votes and 22 House votes last year during the first session of the 117th Congress, according to the scorecard. While LCV primarily focuses on legislation and executive and judicial nominations that affect the environment, the organization sometimes expands the roster to include broader topics. That happened for the 2021 scorecard, which includes members’ votes on the impeachment and conviction of former President Donald Trump.
LCV uses the information to determine who to help and who to target during campaign season.
“2021 was a year of historic opportunities and consequential challenges—and having pro-environment leaders across both chambers and the White House made all the difference for what Congress and the administration could accomplish for families and communities everywhere,” the scorecard summary said. “But the size and scope of the unfinished business is considerable.”
Among the other votes included in members’ scores were measures supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, certifying 2020 Electoral College results in various states, confirming Biden’s executive and judicial nominees, repealing a Trump-era rollback of methane regulations, investing in drinking water infrastructure, protecting communities from toxic “forever chemicals,” advancing the Build Back Better Act, and protecting and expanding voting rights and election changes.
LCV convenes a group of representatives from more than 20 environment, conservation, and environmental justice groups to select the votes on which lawmakers are scored.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kellie Lunney in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org