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Rep. John Lewis Gets Prestigious Top Rating on National Environmental Issues

February 7, 2012
Press Release

Only Member of Entire Georgia Delegation with Top Rating

WASHINGTON—Today the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released its 2011 National Environmental Scorecard for the First Session of the 112th Congress.  The LCV has issued a rating for every Congress since 1970 and represents the consensus of 20 of the most respected environmental and conservation organizations in the country, including the National Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, The Wilderness Society, the National Audobon Society, Earthjustice, and the National Wildlife Federation.  Notably, Atlanta sophisticate and philanthropist Laura Turner Seydel is a member of the LCV Board of Directors.

The LCV scorecard tracks legislation affecting the environment and the votes of congressional members on the issues of energy, global warming, public health, public lands, wildlife conservation as well as spending for environmental programs.   This year it tracked 15 House votes, more than it has ever tracked before.   The LCV saw this as a critical moment in the effort to defend the environment and public health.

Rep. John Lewis was one of only 24 members of the House to receive a 100 percent score, meaning he voted solidly to support the environment, public safety and public health on every single vote the LCV felt was critical to those issues.  He was the only member of the entire House and Senate Georgia delegation to receive the top ranking.

His votes are especially significant at a time when environmental protections are under attack.  The overview of the LCV report begins with these words, “In 2011, the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives unleashed a truly breathtaking and unprecedented assault on the environment and public health, the breadth and depth of which have made the current House of Representatives the most anti-environmental in our nation’s history.”  In a release announcing the report, an LCV-VP made this statement:

The 2011 National Environmental Scorecard is a sad testament to the radical nature of the U.S. House of Representatives in the first session of the 112th Congress,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. “We applaud those members who opposed the multitude of attacks on vital public health and environmental protections in 2011.  However, it's deeply disappointing that so many members chose to put corporate polluters and other special interests ahead of the health and well-being of their constituents.

 

The report offers perspectives on the controversial Keystone Pipeline XL and severely criticizes H.R. 1, the House Continuing Resolution spending bill crafted to avoid a federal shutdown.  Even though H.R. 1 traditionally is not an used to legislate on environmental matters, this House included what the LCV called “ sweeping assaults on the air we breathe, the water we drink …; it also made drastic cuts to transit, energy efficiency, and renewable energy while protecting the profits of polluting industries.”   (more)

“These are difficulties times,” said Rep. Lewis, “when so much that has defined the American way of life has been jeopardized by partisan attempts to fundamentally change our society without the full awareness of the American people.  Due to progressive legislation during the past 50 years, we made significant advances in protecting the environment.  But today just as in voting rights, worker’s rights, privacy rights, and fair housing rights, there are forces attempting to return environmental protection to the dark ages.  We must use our votes and our voices to take a stand against these efforts in the interest of public health and the well being of future generations.

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