Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Greenest Republicans?

On this earth day, it's important to remember that care for the Environment has to be a bipartisan effort. Sadly, the GOP has not always lived up to it's environmental heritage, but there are those who still do. Republicans for Environmental Protection has released it's scorecard of Congress touting "Green Republicans" while slamming the "Brown Republicans." Here is their press release:

Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP) today released its fourth annual Congressional Scorecard rating the environmental performance of Republicans in Congress.

Senator Susan Collins (ME) and Congressman Mark Kirk (IL) shared top honors as the “Greenest Republican in Congress.” Each had perfect voting records and received additional credits for environmental leadership.

As a result of the formula that REP uses to calculate scores, which is based on the number of votes scored, Collins’ score of 107* was slightly higher than the 105 that Kirk received.

One other member of the House had a perfect score of 100: Frank LoBiondo (NJ). Former Senator Gordon Smith (OR) scored a perfect 100 in the upper house.

“REP is proud and gratified at the strong environmental leadership that our top-scoring lawmakers have demonstrated. Their hard work has been indispensable for moving conservation and environmental legislation, which history has shown cannot succeed without strong bipartisan support,” REP President Rob Sisson said.

“We are especially proud of Senator Collins’ exemplary record. This is the second year in a row that we have honored her as the ‘Greenest Republican in Congress.’ She has been an outspoken champion of taking on climate change, expanding use of cleaner energy technologies, and of practicing good stewardship over our natural resources,” REP Government Affairs Director David Jenkins said.

“Mark Kirk was the first congressional candidate endorsed by REP. We are proud of the strong conservation record that he has compiled. He has met all our expectations and then some,” Sisson said.

“He has been a steadfast champion of protecting the Great Lakes, and as a resident of Michigan, I can tell you that means a great deal to me personally. He has worked hard to clean up air pollution, expand use of cleaner energy resources, and protect our country’s parks and wilderness lands,” Sisson added.

The overall environmental performance of Republicans in Congress improved from 2007 to 2008. The average score of Senate Republicans rose significantly from 27 percent in 2007 to 54 percent in 2008. The House Republican average increased slightly, from 21 percent in 2007 to 25 percent last year.

“The rising scores among our Republican senators and congressmen is an encouraging trend, and we hope to see continuing improvement this year and in the years ahead,” Jenkins said.

“At a time when the Republican Party is at a crossroads following two consecutive election defeats, our GOP environmental champions point the way towards a new, more constructive direction – the rediscovery of the Republican Party’s great conservation tradition,” Jenkins added.

“As we saw a few weeks ago when Congress passed a strong conservation bill with sweeping bipartisan majorities, including the support of Congressman Kirk and Senator Collins, Republicans accomplish great things for our country when they rediscover that conservation tradition,” Jenkins said.

Still, far too many Republicans had low scores. The lowest scoring members in the House were Congressmen Rob Bishop and Chris Cannon, both from Utah, who scored minus 5. In the Senate, the low achievers were Jim DeMint (SC), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), and David Vitter (LA), along with former Senator Chuck Hagel (NE), all of whom scored 29.

“Our scorecard is an essential tool for tracking our party’s environmental performance and a measure of REP’s progress toward its mission of restoring natural resource conservation and sound environmental protection as fundamental elements of the Republican Party's vision for America,” REP Policy Director Jim DiPeso said.

To download the scorecard, go here.

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