25th Maine Environmental Scorecard Issued
You’ve got to give them credit. The Maine League of Conservation Voters (MCV) has stayed the course, issuing its 25th Environmental Scorecard on September 6.
This year MCV has offered a new twist – a free iPhone application, available along with the scorecard itself at 2011Environmental Scorecard. The online version is interactive.
“It’s so important for legislators to hear from their constituents,” said MCV Executive Director Maureen Drouin. “You can contact your elected officials directly using our iPhone app or from our Website.”
MCV chose these issues for their 2011 scorecard:
- a bill that repealed Maine’s pesticide notification registry,
- a bill that banned the toxic chemical called BPA in reusable food and beverage containers,
- a bill that exempted towns with a population less than 4,000 from the uniform building and energy code,
- an amendment to reduce the protective zone around vernal pools from 275 to 75 feet, and
- a bill establishing a study group to reform the Land Use Regulation Commission that governs the North Woods.
To my great astonishment, MCV chose not to include a roll call vote on a Constitutional amendment that would have given the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife a small percentage of the sales tax – especially surprising given the fact that the Nature Conservancy and Maine Audubon led the effort on this important issue. It’s difficult to understand how the most important vote in a decade for the wildlife of our state was less important than a LURC study or the pesticide notification registry.
In its scorecard, MCV did refer to this issue and noted “after five senators switched their votes, the bill failed in the state senate by two votes.” But it failed to name those five senators.
Let me make up for this oversight. The five senators who disappointed all who care about the wildlife resources of our state are Elizabeth Schneider, Roger Sherman, Lois Snowe-Mello, Nancy Sullivan, and Michael Thibodeau.
As usual, the MCV scorecard favors Democrats and punishes Republicans. Fifty-four House members had a perfect score. All are Democrats. That’s 71 percent of the Democrats in the House.
Sixty-three House Republicans got only one vote right out of the four votes selected for scoring by MCV. That’s 82 percent of the Republicans in the house.
To its credit, MCV recognizes “legislative scores tell only part of the story,” and it includes a report on legislators who by their “individual actions, not reflected in the scores,” impacted our environment.
While the roll call votes selected by the MCV may not accurately portray a legislator’s commitment to our environment, the entire report, especially the section titled “Beyond the Roll Calls,” is worth checking out.