Vermont Conservation Voters (on which I proudly serve as a board member)
has just released it’s 2015 Interim Environmental Scorecard for the Legislature, on which all our Senators and House members are evaluated strictly on the basis of votes cast on key issues that came before them this year.
“Vermonters overwhelmingly value clean water, clean energy, and healthy families. We want voters to know if their elected officials are representing their values – or not,” said Lauren Hierl, political director for Vermont Conservation Voters.
After careful consideration, the VCV focussed on just five votes in the House, surrounding three important issues:
H.40 The Revewable Energy Bill (third reading), where VCV was looking for a ‘yes’ vote.
H.40 An Amendment to strip creation of a “Transformation Tier” from the bill. VCV was looking for a ‘no’ vote on this one.
H. 4 The ban on microbeads, where VCV was looking for a ‘yes’ vote.
H.35 An amendment to strip funding from the Water Quality Bill. VCV was looking for a ‘no.’
H.35 The Water Quality Bill (third reading), where VCV wanted a ‘yes.’
The Senate evaluation looked at:
H.40 The Renewable Energy Bill (third reading); for a ‘yes vote.
H.40 An Amendment on Energy Siting. VCV was looking for a ‘no’ vote on that one.
S.R.70 A Global Warming Resolution acknowledging the threat posed by human influenced climate change and Vermont’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
S.139 Which would have stripped effective language from the Toxic-Free Families Act (Act 188). A ‘no’ vote represented the environmental position on that issue.
H.35 The Water Quality Bill (third reading); looking for a ‘yes’ vote.
First, the bouquets:
It is gratifying to see how many (78) House members and Senators (10) have earned a 100% score from the VCV this year, including two representatives from my own home-county of Franklin; Democrat Kathy Keenan of St. Albans and Republican Carolyn Branagan of Swanton.
In fact, only four other Republican reps and no Republican Senators distinguished themselves in this way. The rest were all Democrats and Progressives, too numerous to single out.
And now for the brickbats:
The most noteworthy environmental fail was turned in by gubernatorial hopeful and current Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, who stepped into the breach to cast the deciding vote to strip language from a health care bill that would have “improved the process
for regulating the use of toxic chemicals in children’s products.” This family unfriendly vote earned him a special mention on the VCV’s “Environmental Laggards” list.
Others on this list were the twelve Representatives and five Senators who each earned an environmental score of 20% or less from their votes. Only one Democrat appears on that list, Senator John Rogers of Essex/Orleans, who came in at 20% and whose lifetime score is barely better at 40%.
I take particular note that while my St. Albans representative, Corey Parent (R) supported the Water Quality Bill in theory, he voted to strip away the funding necessary to achieve its objectives; as did Eileen Dickinson (R) of St. Albans Town.
Our St. Albans Bay is ground zero for the Lake clean-up urgency, so their votes seem particularly ill-advised under the circumstances.
There is a whole lot of valuable information about your representatives to be gleaned from the VCV Scorecard; so I urge you to download and read it; then keep it in mind the next time they ask for your vote.