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OPINION: Congressional scorecard documents attacks on Nevada’s values



LAS VEGAS—Today, Nevada Conservation League joined the national League of Conservation Voters in releasing the 2011 National Environmental Scorecard, revealing scores for the Nevada delegation in the first session of the 112th Congress.

The 2011 Scorecard reflects the most anti-environmental session of the U.S. House of Representatives in history, featuring unparalleled assaults on our nation’s bedrock environmental and public health safeguards.

The good news is that while the House voted against the environment a shocking number of times, both the U.S. Senate and the Obama administration stood fast against the vast majority of these attacks.  Indeed, not only did our cornerstone environmental protections emerge from 2011 largely unscathed, the Obama administration also made major progress through administrative actions to protect our air and water.

Scot Rutledge, executive director of the Nevada Conservation League, which is affiliated with the League of Conservation Voters, said residents and businesses in the Silver State have a particularly big stake in the outcome of the debates on public policy in Congress.

“We have huge potential for the development of solar, wind and geothermal energy” he noted. “We have a larger portion of land under public management than any other state in the continental United States, including such important assets to tourism and business as the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. We are the gateway to the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead, and our community’s lifeblood is the Colorado River.  Simply put, we have a huge stake in the outcome of congressional votes on conservation and environmental issues.”

“We applaud Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Representative Shelley Berkley for opposing the countless attacks on vital public health and environmental protections in 2011,” said Nevada Conservation League President Jennifer Taylor. “However, it’s deeply disappointing that Senator Dean Heller and Representatives Heck and Amodei chose to put corporate polluters and other special interests ahead of the health and well-being of Nevadans.”

The 2011 Scorecard includes 11 Senate and a record 35 House votes on issues ranging from public health protections to clean energy to land and wildlife conservation. The House votes included in the 2011 Scorecard are simply many of the most significant votes taken in a year that saw the House voting more than 200 times on the environment and public health.

In Nevada, Senator Harry Reid led the defense against this assault and earned a perfect 100 percent score. On the other hand, Senator Dean Heller, who was appointed to the Senate during the session, had a perfect record of voting against our values while in the House, and upon taking his seat in the Senate, supported only one pro-conservation bill, to eliminate ethanol subsidies.

“In 2011, the House Republican leadership unleashed a truly breathtaking and unprecedented assault on the environment and public health, the breadth and depth of which have made the current U.S. House of Representatives the most anti-environmental in our nation’s history,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “LCV is grateful to those members of the Nevada delegation and to the Obama administration for helping to ensure that the House Republican leadership did not succeed in gutting our nation’s cornerstone environmental and public health protections in 2011.  We look forward to working together in 2012 and beyond to protect the planet for future generations.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: 100%

Senator Dean Heller: 11% (Heller scored a 0% while in the House of Representatives)

Representative Shelley Berkley: 94%

Representative Joe Heck: 9%

Representative Mark Amodei: 0%

For over 40 years, the National Environmental Scorecard issued by LCV has been the nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health and energy issues. The full 2011 National Environmental Scorecard can be found at www.lcv.org/scorecard.

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