Votes for the Environment: A Political Report Card

The best and worst voting records on environmental issues in the Senate and House of Representatives in 1992.


| August/September 1992



133-78-algore

Senator Al Gore (D-TN) ranks highest among U.S. Senators in environmental activism.


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

Even the hardened critics among us would scarcely deny that we are at an en­vironmental cross­roads in this country. An overwhelming weight of evidence confirms that the combination of acid rain, excess green­house gas emissions, toxic wastes, and the destruction of wildlife habitats pose a far greater risk to the future of humankind than was imagined even a decade ago. Politicians are forced to contend with more environmental concerns among their constituents than ever be­fore, and are less able to simply duck the major issues.

A massive scramble has ensued in Washington as elections loom, and pre­viously indifferent or positively uncar­ing members of the House, Senate, and the Bush administration are frantically attempting to cast themselves as activists. With humble respect to our elected offi­cials, MOTHER, along with Jeremy Rifkin and Carol Grunewald Rifkin, authors of Voting Green (Doubleday), presents a primer on the environmental record of the 101st and 102nd congresses.

Two hundred and sixty four "green" bills were sponsored and/or voted on during this time period and pertain to such diverse issues as:

  • Atmospheric Protection
  • Energy and Transportation
  • International Development and Foreign Policy
  • Agriculture
  • Public Lands and Forests
  • Animal Rights, and finally,
  • Endangered Species and Biodiversity

Each candidate has been given a score. For the sake of space, only those with the highest and lowest scores are presented.

To give each official a score, 6 points were awarded to every member who sponsored a bill (since most of the bills never make it to a floor vote), 3 points to a co-sponsor, 2 points to sponsors of a resolution (a statement of concern or intent by the Congress, but not always a binding piece of legislation), and one to co-sponsors. If the bill came to a floor vote, members received 3 points if he or she voted for the bill.

Lowest Scores: Senate

M. Wallop (R-WY): 0
D. Nickles (R-OK): 0
B. Johnston (D-LA): 1
S. Thurmond (R-SC): 3
A. Simpson (R-WY): 3
W. Rudman (R-NH): 3
C. Mack (R-FL): 3
P. Gramm (R-TX): 3
D. Coats (R-IN): 3





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