The Clean Water Blog

2015-2016 PA Environmental Scorecard

The Scores Don’t Lie

Democracy works best when the electorate is informed and uses that information to hold our elected leaders accountable. That’s why we collaborated with Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, PennEnvironment, and Sierra Club to develop the 2015-2016 Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard

which compiles a list of the most crucial environmental votes taken by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Find out where your legislators stood, you deserve to know!

The scores don’t lie. They tell the real story about whether or not our legislators are working to protect our environment, health, and safety, or serving other agendas. What the results show is an ongoing trend of anti-environmental state legislators, who focus on environmental attacks and rollback of protections. In addition to direct attacks, many of these assaults were couched in pro-business language or buried in budget-related bills. Some of the bills they voted on this session were geared toward derailing efforts to update protections from fracking, creating hurdles for policies addressing climate change and opening our state parks for commercial development.

Republicans and Democrats are both responsibly for our legislature’s environmental failures, especially those legislators who are in positions of leadership and drive the agenda. Only one of the four Environmental Resource and Energy Chairs earned a 100%, Rep. Greg Vitali. The remaining three all scored below 50% and sadly nearly a quarter of all legislators earned a 0%.

In this hostile atmosphere dominated by polluters and their high-powered lobbyists, it’s easy to lose sight that there is still an elite corps of Environmental Champions. These legislators aren’t afraid to take on their leadership and the special interests to stand up for our environment and health. In all, 42 lawmakers – 35 from the State House and 7 from the State Senate – were classified as Environmental Champions, legislators who scored 90% or higher on our scorecard.

Now that you’re armed with the information, I hope you’ll use it. The only way to reverse this trend is to let your legislators know how you feel about their votes and let the scorecard guide you in deciding which candidates up for election this year share your belief that protecting our environment, communities, and health should be a priority.