After months of waiting for the Legislature to officially end the 2011 Long Session, the NC League of Conservation Voters released its annual Conservation Scorecard. NCLCV has been scoring NC Legislators on environmental issues since 1999 and this year’s scores are the lowest they have ever been. The Scorecard is a valuable tool voters can use to evaluate which legislators best represent their environmental values. The Conservation Scorecard gives each state legislator a score of 0 to 100 based on his or her votes on key environmental bills in the recent session of the General Assembly.
This year’s scores indicate just how aggressive the new leadership has been in rolling back the environmental protections that make North Carolina a great place to live and do business. With the first bills proposed early on to limit or do away with regulations to the final days of the debate over drilling for oil off North Carolina’s pristine coast and for natural gas in our beautiful piedmont areas, it was clear this new Legislature had environmental protections in their cross hairs.
The average score in the House for the 2011 session was 43%, down from 67% for the 2009-2010 average; the Senate average was a mere 27%, compared to 69% in 2009-2010. Of particular interest are the average scores of the incoming freshman legislators as compared to the lifetime scores of those they replaced. In the House, the average score for the 27 new representatives was 35%, drastically down from the outgoing legislators’ lifetime average of 73%. The Senate scores were even more shocking with the 15 new senators averaging just 18% as compared to their predecessors at 70%.
“Legislators in the 2011 long session made poor choices when it comes to protecting our natural resources and quality of life,” said Dan Crawford, director of governmental relations for NCLCV. “With North Carolina consistently ranking at the top of lists for best places to live and do business in the country, the legislators failed to realize the impact their decisions will have on our quality of life for the long-term.”
Notable freshman legislators’ scores from your area are shown below, including the lifetime scores of the former representative or senator. The complete Scorecard, as well as previous years, can be viewed online at: http://nclcv.org/what/scoring/. A PDF version of all the lowest freshmen scores is available here: http://nclcv.org/assets/pdfs/nclcv_scorecard_lowest_freshman.pdf.