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Re: E-M:/ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Michigan Delegation Split on Clean Energy and Conservation: League of Conservation Voters Releases 2008 National Environmental Scorecard

Hi Kerry,

Thanks for posting. This is truly a most useful tool for grassroots activists. I do have one question -  however, please know that I salute the work done by the League of Conservation Voters, and just would like to widen the vision and work. 

I would personally like to know how anyone can get a score of 100% on clean energy and conservation and be pro-nuclear.  - Uranium mining utterly destroys drinking water forever, and fish cannot live in that water.   I have never heard of adequate mitigation or clean-up in uranium mining or processing communities. Health issues are horrendous. A great book based in the Great Lakes Basin is This is My Homeland which tells the story of the devastating contamination of the First Nation peoples that were and are victims of uranium mining and milling in the Elliot Lake and Serpent River region in northern Ontario. That is merely one place - there are many contaminated communities world-wide, where uranium mining and processing has devastated ground and surface waters and the long-term health of the community.

For that matter, how can any citizen in Michigan advocate for uranium mining (necessary for nuclear power) in the U.P - or anywhere? (Or coal, that harms our lungs and destroys mountains, rivers, communities, as well?) And why do it, when there are more cost-effective, efficient, safer, saner, cleaner, faster ways to answer our energy needs? And, is there something wrong with teaching conservation? Why must the citizens of the U.S. have a reputation as energy hogs? Why must we waste so much energy? Why can't utilities and cities, and counties sink the dollars into efficiency and wind and solar, or perhaps geothermal, that they have sunk into expensive, polluting and dangerous nuclear power that creates lethal wastes that must be isolated for millions of years? After all, it is a solid investment in the health of our children and will help pay for itself by not generating wastes that bring expensive clean-up at either the mining sites or the waste storage sites. And how does anyone propose to keep radioactive wastes with half-lives in the tens of thousands of years, or millions of years, (like iodine 129, with a half-life of 15.7 million years) from leaking out and damaging our collective gene pool, our oceans, our groundwater, our amazing ecosystem?

All nuclear reactors are legally allowed to release some radionuclides into the air and water. Many of these radionuclides bioconcentrate in the food chain, just like DDT, some for thousands of times - some for far greater amounts than that. To illustrate bioconcentration abilities of some radionuclides, I quote a remarkable book published in 1970, Before Nature Dies. The author, a French mathematician, Jean Dorst, Curator of the Division of Mammals and Birds of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, cited a study where "...an isotope of phosphorus 32 passed from a concentration of 1 in the water [Columbia River,] to 35 in aquatic invertebrates, to 7,500 in ducks and 200,000 in their eggs. The yolk, very rich in phosphorous, contained 2 million times as much as river water."  The same book says that "...freshwater bivalves concentrate radioactive iodine 100 times. Both freshwater and marine fishes, being at a high level in food chains, are from 20,000 to 30,000 times more radioactive that the surrounding water." This is from the chapter, "Radioactive Pollutions".

Many radionuclides cross the placenta, including tritium (radioactive hydrogen, which can go anywhere in your body that water goes, and which can make tritiated DNA), and plutonium, which is generally not soluble to the human body - unless mixed with chlorine, which is ubiquitous throughout the Great Lakes. Then it becomes much more soluble to the human body. This is from a book published years ago, called Water Fit to Drink, published by Rodale.Press.) If plutonium is inhaled, however - then, one millionth of a gram inhaled into a person's lungs will always result in lung cancer.  There are many radionuclides that are harmful to humans and other living beings. Currently U.S. standards for both radiation and chemicals are based  on "Reference Man," a healthy 25 year old white male. Who protects the unborn from these potent poisons?

Committee to Bridge the Gap recently discovered secret papers from the EPA that documented their plans to gut radiological protection in drinking water - (along with many other standards as well, from what I've seen of recent postings on E-M.)

We need to get our heads out of the sand, and together with our communities, our elected officials, our friends and neighbors and families get off the stick and pay attention to any or all of the excellent books, tv programs, DVDS, speakers, and other community resources (including our own common sense) that demonstrate how we can make our homes and lives energy-efficient, (and perhaps save our nation up to 75% of wasted energy within 20 years, according to Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute). We need to slow down and quit impulse buying, and savor life more. "Buy Nothing Day" (the day after Thanksgiving) has a great slogan: "Buy Less! Live More!" - plus we can save a few mountains, and some groundwater in the U.P.  and help create less asthma and cancer among the folks and kids we know and care for. 
                                                              - Kay Cumbow

At 10:15 AM 10/17/2008, Kerry C. Duggan wrote:

October 17, 2008
Contact: joshua_mcneil@lcv.org; 202.454.4573

Michigan Delegation Split on Clean Energy and Conservation
League of Conservation Voters Releases
2008 National Environmental Scorecard

Full Scorecard Available at www.lcv.org/scorecard

?The League of Conservation Voters, which works to turn environmental values into national priorities, today released the 2008 National Environmental Scorecard. For 30 years, the non-partisan National Environmental Scorecard from LCV has been the nationally accepted yardstick used to rate Members of Congress on conservation and energy issues.
LCV President Gene Karpinski announced the release of LCV's 2008 National Environmental Scorecard today, saying: "This scorecard reflects more clearly than perhaps ever before that America is truly at a crossroads when it comes to our energy future. In the face of gas prices that shot above four dollars a gallon, unrest around the world, and increasing global warming pollution, it could not be more obvious that we must reduce our dependence on oil, yet in 2008, Congress went in the wrong direction." 

Michigan's delegation was split between those who favored continued dependence on oil and other dirty fossil fuels and those who favored renewable energy and energy efficiency.  Senator Levin, Senator Stabenow, and Representative Dingell earned perfect scores of 100 percent in 2008, consistently standing up to Big Oil and voting for renewable energy and energy efficiency. At the other end of the spectrum, many representatives scored below 50 percent, with Representatives Hoekstra, Camp, and Walberg receiving an outright zero.  The average Michigan Senate score was 100 percent, and the average Michigan House score was 51 percent  For the full list of scores, see the bottom of this release.
 "We applaud Senators Levin and Stabenow and Congressman Dingell for their leadership in recognizing the need to make investments in clean energy technologies and at the same time protect Michigan's majestic natural heritage and our fragile manufacturing sector," said Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.  "We are disappointed that not all members followed suit -including Representatives Hoekstra, Camp, Walberg, Rogers, Knollenberg, Miller and McCotter - but, instead failed the citizens of this great state by giving into Big Oil and big polluters."
The 2008 Scorecard includes 11 Senate and 13 House votes dominated by energy but also encompassing other environmental issues.  This year, 67 House members and 27 senators earned a perfect 100 percent score, which is significantly higher than the 33 House members and 3 senators who earned a 100 percent in 2007.  This year, 70 House members and 2 senators earned an appalling score of zero percent, compared with 48 House members and 9 senators in 2007. 
The average House score in 2008 was 56 percent, and the average Senate score was 57 percent, which is slightly higher than the 53 percent House and 52 percent Senate averages in 2007. California, Connecticut, Michigan, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin all had perfect Senate averages of 100 percent, while Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Carolina's senators averaged just 9 percent.  In the House, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and Maryland all averaged above 90 percent, while Montana and Wyoming were both below 10 percent. 
"The 110th Congress began with great promise of bringing about a new energy economy, especially with the first increase in fuel economy of cars and light trucks in a generation," said LCV Legislative Director Tiernan Sittenfeld.  "The success of 2007 should have led to even more progress in 2008, but a vocal minority of Big Oil allies instead turned the year into a series of missed opportunities and major steps backward."  
While Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) fought for meaningful legislation to end our addiction to oil, reduce global warming pollution, and bring about a new energy economy, a vocal minority led by Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and John Boehner (R-OH) used every trick in the book to help their allies in Big Oil and Big Coal.  Though in the minority, these politicians not only defended billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies for the oil industry, they insisted on increasing offshore drilling, and created new handouts for dirty fuels like oil shale, tar sands, and liquid coal. 
A focal point for the debate over our energy future was the Climate Security Act, a global warming bill advanced by Environment & Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA). LCV worked hard to strengthen and pass the Climate Security Act. After a debate cut short by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and other allies of Big Oil, 48 senators voted to move forward, and 6 senators who were absent issued statements indicating that they would have voted that way as well ? bringing the total number of senators who supported taking action to address global warming to 54.  While short of the 60 votes necessary to override a filibuster, it's significant that a majority of senators went on the record in support of making progress to combat global warming.
After turning their back on the need to reduce global warming pollution, "Drill, baby, drill," became the war cry of Republican leadership who ? along with President Bush, Senator McCain, and Newt Gingrich - spearheaded the campaign to mislead Americans into believing that new offshore drilling would lead to lower gas prices. Despite the Department of Energy's assessment that the negligible impacts on gas prices would not occur until 2030, the campaign succeeded in ending the moratorium on offshore drilling.
"As we prepare for a new Congress and a new Administration, it's all too obvious that America is desperate for change," Sittenfeld said.  "The good news is that a new energy policy can bring about just the change we need.  LCV is committed to working with the 111th Congress and the new Administration to take bold action.  It's time to increase our production of clean, renewable energy, cut our dependence on oil, and invest in a new energy economy." 


Michigan Delegation 2008 Scores:

Sen. Stabenow ? 100

Sen. Levin - 100

Rep. Stupak - 92

Rep. Hoekstra - 0

Rep. Ehlers - 69

Rep. Camp - 0

Rep. Kildee - 92

Rep. Upton - 54

Rep. Walberg - 0

Rep. Rogers, Michael J. - 15

Rep. Knollenberg - 31

Rep. Miller, C. - 31

Rep. McCotter - 15

Rep. Levin, S. - 92

Rep. Kilpatrick - 92

Rep. Conyers - 85

Rep. Dingell - 100


Kerry C. Duggan
Campaigns Project Manager
League of Conservation Voters
Direct: (202) 454-4592
Mobile/text: (734) 846-0093
Turning Environmental Values into National Priorities