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February 21, 2008

Two Very Different Shades of Green

Posted: 02:54 PM ET

The League of Conservation Voters came out today with its annual Scorecard on Congress. 

Using fifteen Senate votes that LCV deems to be "key" environmental measures, and another twenty in the House of Representatives, the organization graded every Member of Congress on their green behavior.

 LCV's grades break down along both party lines and regional lines:  Democrats tend to draw higher scores than Republicans; Members of Congress from urban areas, and the Northeast, tend to score higher than Members from rural areas in the South, Midwest, and West.

 California, home to both ardent environmentalists and anti-regulatory Conservatives, has five members of the House who received perfect "100" scores, and six who got zeroes.

And, of course, the grades are in for three Senators who have been getting a lot of attention. 

Presidential candidate John McCain, with a lifetime LCV score of 24 percent and a 41 percent rating in the 109th Congress (in 2005 and 2006);  Hillary Clinton holds an 87 percent score lifetime, and 89 percent in the last Congress.  Barack Obama scored 86 percent for his Senate career, and 96 percent in the last Congress.

 But for 2007, the first year of the 110th Congress, all that time on the campaign trail has knocked the candidates' grades down:   Clinton scored 73 percent, Obama 67 percent, and McCain pitched a shutout:   0 percent. 

 Those numbers may be misleading, however:   McCain didn't vote against the environmentalists' side this year, he just didn't vote at all, missing all fifteen "key" votes in 2007, presumably due to his campaign schedule.  Clinton and Obama missed four votes each. 

McCain supporters are quick to point out that the Arizona Senator has championed global warming legislation for years.

LCV's member organizations include many major American environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and Friends of the Earth. 

But there's a mirror-image scorecard produced annually by the American Land Rights Association.  ALRA's scorecard is not out yet, but they say they're working on it.   They award their grades based on Congressional bills affecting public lands, private property rights, and environmental regulation. 

ALRA is a staunch opponent of what they feel is excessive federal regulation and is a strong advocate for private property rights and the free market.  They're reliably on the other side of LCV and most conservation groups on most issues. 

In their most recent scorecard, based on Congressional votes in 2006, McCain drew a 56 percent grade, while both Clinton and Obama came in at 11 percent, according to the ALRA numbers.

 Following tonight's Democratic debate on CNN, be sure to catch "Broken Government:  Scorched Earth."   It's an investigative look at failed government programs that have costs billions of taxpayer dollars.  

Miles O'Brien hosts at 11pm ET/8pm PT Thursday, with replays over the weekend.

Peter Dykstra   Executive Producer   CNN Science

Filed under: environment


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Ken in Dallas   February 21st, 2008 3:29 pm ET

We need to be talking about these topics in more detail. All the presidential candidates are murmuring vague platitudes about green policy, but none of them are speaking specifically about the conservation tactics that should be counted as low-hanging fruit.

For instance, earth-exchange heat punp systems, sometimes branded "GeoExchange", are at least twice as energy-efficient as conventional air-exchange systems, and widespread adoption of such efficiency gains can reduce the per-capita energy budget by about 15% without degrading the standard of living.

The LCV's grading Congressional voting records on specific measures, but who grades Congress or anyone else on really being smart about energy issues?


Ken in Dallas   February 21st, 2008 3:29 pm ET

We need to be talking about these topics in more detail. All the presidential candidates are murmuring vague platitudes about green policy, but none of them are speaking specifically about the conservation tactics that should be counted as low-hanging fruit.

For instance, earth-exchange heat punp systems, sometimes branded "GeoExchange", are at least twice as energy-efficient as conventional air-exchange systems, and widespread adoption of such efficiency gains can reduce the per-capita energy budget by about 15% without degrading the standard of living.

The LCV's grading Congressional voting records on specific measures, but who grades Congress or anyone else on really being smart about energy issues?


Patrice P.   February 21st, 2008 11:13 pm ET

I hope this special brings up the issue of Pres. Bush's current attempt to remove the protection for the grey wolf, an endangered species. It was this endangered species that American tax dollars were just spent, beginning in 1995, to reintroduce it into Yellowstone National Park. Now they also want to allow the indiscriminate shooting of these very same wolves and their descendents, including shooting by high-powered rifles from a helicopter. Yellowstone's environment has been greatly improved by the reintroduction of this endangered species. I wonder how America's mass slaughter of an endangered species will play on the International scene (especially considering our already damaged reputation). Shame on us if we allow this!


Ruth, New Hampshire   February 22nd, 2008 2:28 pm ET

Not showing up for the environmental votes in the Senate tells me that McCain's not going to make any moves that he feels would endanger his standing either with his conservative base or with the independents.

How long are we going to keep applauding McCain for espousing climate change solutions and emissions reductions targets that were progressive 8 years ago? Maybe it's time to rethink the "E" for effort grade that many environmentalists have given him since he first caught on to the problem of climate change.


wwisecup3991   February 22nd, 2008 11:51 pm ET

Mr.McCain, you are going to make a GREAT President and I am anxious to see your most elegant looking wife in the Whitehouse.

Unlike the other spouses, she is going to be an asset to our country!

I'm not an expert but her body language tells me she loves you very much and the way she presents herself is sheer elegance, when she said, "I love my country and I've always loved my country"! She really meant it!

She looks like a Presidents wife and she emulates real class!

It's my opinion that only someone that has served our country as you have, can possibly be our highest leader. I hope you will restructure our military and make it strong again. The Clinton administration all but ruined it!

I also love our country as my husband is Retired MSG US Army, Viet Nam vet and he spent 22 1/2 years serving our country, so in this we understand you and your words that we will stay in Iraq 100 years if necessary to make it safe for our country. Others will never understand unless you elaborate a little!

I think you should clarify this because people outside of military do not understand the committment and unity of such a Brotherhood that the military has. Most civilians just don't get it because they do not know how the military operates.

They do not know what it means to have the respect for our flag that we have either.

Only military people will stop their vechicle when they see a flag being raised or lowered on a pole and salute it. I always placed my hand over my heart in respect. So we understand the military and I know you will bring our men and women home safely.

Of all the possibles, Mr McCain, you are our only choice. Thank you for applying for the job because if it were up to me you would have it Today!


Jason-Milwaukee   March 5th, 2008 11:51 am ET

The environment should take center stage in politics. The impact humans are having on this planet is must be addressed.

Recycle. Reduce. Reuse.

Go green!!!

http://www.greenbugz.com
Recycling Today For A Greener Tomorrow


Twanda Marash   May 21st, 2013 2:57 pm ET

John McCain followed his father and grandfather, both four-star admirals, into the United States Navy, graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958. He became a naval aviator, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. In October 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi, he was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. He was a prisoner of war until 1973. McCain experienced episodes of torture, and refused an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer. His war wounds left him with lifelong physical limitations.^';,

http://www.healthmedicinebook.comAll the best to you


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