Enviro Scorecard Rates Democrats and Republicans
Everyone likes to get good grades. That’s one reason the Environmental Scorecard issued by the Maine League of Conservation Voters (MLCV) has been generating news, comments, and controversy, since it began rating legislators in 1986.
The Scorecard has been a political football, too, because Democrats generally get good grades while Republicans anchor the bottom of the grading scale. That infuriates GOP legislators who believe the scorecard is biased.
You can decide for yourself by checking out this year’s Environmental Scorecard, issued last week.
Maureen Drouin, MLCV’s executive director, says that “in spite of these difficult times, we’re pleased to report that the environment and Maine people came out ahead.”
Perhaps. It is clear that the MLCV is trying to throw more kudos to Republicans, whose names are spread throughout the Scorecard’s list of legislators who performed “Noteworthy Actions.”
Alas, no Republicans made the 2009/2010 “Honor Roll” of seventy-three House members and eighteen Senate members. The six House members on the “Dishonor Roll” are all Republicans, but that party’s Senators managed to dodge the dishonor bullet this session.
“We are pleased to report that no senators appear on the Dishonor Roll this session,” reports the Scorecard.
For its Scorecard, the MLCV selects what it calls the “key vote” on the bills it considers most important for Maine’s environment each session. Sometimes it’s looking for a “yes” vote, other times for a “no” vote. Here’s the list of selected issues for the 2009/10 Scorecard:
LD 821 would have created a drug disposal and education program to ensure safe drinking water in Maine. The bill failed in the Senate.
LD 891 instructs the Department of Environmental Protection to recommend best practices to promote development that would maximize energy efficiency and reduce climate change impacts. This bill was enacted.
LD 1631 established a first-in-the-nation framework to systematically identify troublesome products in the waste stream for new product stewardship programs (programs that require manufacturers and producers to collect and safely recycle or dispose of products at the end of their useful life). This bill was enacted.
LD 1662 reduces the amount of sulfur in home heating oil and industrial oil over the next six years. This bill passed with the support of the oil industry.
LD 1826 was a bond issue and MLCV selected an amendment to the bill that would have cut in half the amount of money directed to the Land for Maine’s Future, for its rating, with a vote against the amendment as the MLCV’s “correct vote.” The amendment was defeated.
LD 330 upgraded the classifications of a number of Maine waterways, based on the DEP’s review of water quality in those waters. It was enacted.
LD 347 would have established a council on private sector regulatory costs to review and act on proposed regulations that impact Maine businesses. MLCV didn’t like it. It failed.
LD 973 created a first-in-the-nation recycling system for compact fluorescent light bulbs that will be paid for in part by the bulb manufacturers. It was enacted.
LD 1218 attempted to lift a ban on construction of new seawalls, something the MLCV opposed. The bill was defeated.
LD 1333 was the “culvert bill,” an issue I’ve written about in earlier DownEast.com blogs. The MLCV’s characterization of this bill mystifies me. The Scorecard reports that the bill, as enacted, “allows for standards to require natural stream flow when culverts are repaired, maintained or replaced. This change would restore passage for fish and other animals and allow them to travel up and down stream.” The legislature actually sent the rules back to DEP for more work, although a small relatively insignificant portion of the original rules was enacted.
LD 1370 would have eliminated the Land Use Regulation Commission, something the MLCV labeled the “most troubling” of a number of bills that would have reduced LURC’s authority to regulate development in the unorganized territories. The “troubling” amendment was defeated.
LD 1485 established the Efficiency Maine Trust to streamline energy efficiency and alternative energy resource programs in the state (another issue I’ve blogged about). The bill was enacted.
By going to the MLCV Web site, you can see how your legislators rated. “We urge you to call, write or email your legislators and let them know what you think of their work last year on behalf of Maine’s environment,” says the Scorecard.
Democrats will be glad to hear from you. Republicans, not so much.