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E-M:/ Michigan Legislature Scored!



For Immediate Release                                                                                 Contact:  Abby Rubley, Communications Director

July 23, 2008                                                                                                       734.222.9650     

 

Michigan League of Conservation Voters Releases 2007-2008 Environmental Scorecard

49 out of 148 lawmakers score 100%

 

Ann Arbor, Michigan --  The Michigan League of Conservation Voters released their 2007-08 Environmental Scorecard today, giving a tepid “thumbs up” to the 49 lawmakers who made protecting Michigan’s land, air and water a priority during the 2007-2008 legislative session.  The remaining 99 lawmakers’ scores range from 93% to 0%.

The current legislative session in Lansing got off to a prolonged poor start for conservation.  Facing a mammoth budget deficient and the loss of an additional $1.2 billion in revenue as of October 1, 2007, Legislators gave short shrift to issues like parks, pollution and water protection.  Instead, they quarreled over budget solutions, among themselves and with the Governor, and reached stalemate for most of 2007.  Few bills associated with conservation needs reached the floor of the House or Senate last year.

In April 2008, the Legislature sprung to action and began moving pieces of water protection and clean energy legislation.  Unfortunately, it was too little and too late, with the only real victory being the final passage of the Great Lakes Compact.   Despite votes in the House, there was no consensus reached on renewable energy or energy efficiency, leaving Michigan woefully behind in investments in our clean energy future.

“Once again Michigan’s environment took a backseat to party politics this legislative session,” said Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.  “We are extremely disappointed that OUR elected officials chose to set aside the need to protect Michigan’s environment in favor of arguing amongst themselves.”

For the first time ever, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Environmental Scorecard also took a look at the State Supreme Court and the Governor. 

As highlighted in the Scorecard, the best of 2007-2008 includes:

·         The Governor’s creation of a new position and subsequent appointment of a renewable energy advisor to help her advance renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.

·         The creation of a new Climate Action Council, also appointed by the Governor.

·         The state’s initiation of a strong environmental justice policy with the Governor’s Executive Directive in November of 2007.

·         Michigan’s passage, as the eighth and final state, of the Great Lakes Compact.

The worst of 2007-2008 includes:

·         The State Supreme Court’s gutting of one of Michigan’s landmark environmental laws: the 1970 Michigan Environmental Protection Act.

·         The Governor and Legislature approval of a raid of $70 million from the leaky underground storage tank clean-up fund to balance the budget.

·         The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permits to allow for sulfide mining in one of our most precious natural areas.

·         Overall inaction, stalemate and retreat by the Governor and the Legislature that failed to pass clean energy legislation, ensure that the waters of Michigan be held in the public’s trust, and put into action the Governor’s 2002 pledge to reduce mercury emissions from power plants

Scores of key lawmakers:

·         Senator Majority Leader Michael Bishop - 11%

·         Senator Patty Birkholz (chair Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs) – 11%

·         Senator Bruce Patterson (chair of Energy Policy and Public Utilities) – 22%

·         Senate Minority Leader Mark Schauer -  100%

·         Speaker of the House Andy Dillon – 100%

·         Representative Rebekah Warren (chair of Great Lakes and Environment) – 100%

·         Representative Frank Accavitti (chair of Energy and Technology) – 93%

·         Minority Leader Craig DeRoche  - 21%

  For more information and to view the complete Scorecard please visit – http://www.michiganlcv.org.

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Michigan League of Conservation Voters is a non-partisan political organization that works to elect and hold accountable public officials who will champion a healthy and vital Michigan by preserving and protecting our land, air and water.

 


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