Votes for the Environment: A Political Report Card

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Senator Al Gore (D-TN) ranks highest among U.S. Senators in environmental activism.
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Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-WY) has the unfortunate record of not supporting or sponsoring a single environmental bill during the 101 and 102nd congresses.

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

Lowest Scores: House of Representatives

D. Sundquist (R-TN): 0
B. Paxon (R-NY): 0
R. Michel (R-IL): 0
A. McCandless (R-CA): 0
R. Marlenee (R-MT): 0
C. Holloway (R-LA): 0
L. Combest (R-TX): 0
J. Barton (R-TX): 0
B. Stubbs (R-AZ): 1
B. Shuster (R-PA): 1
B. Livingston (R-LA): 1
J. Lightfoot (R-IA): 1
H. Callahan (R-AL): 1
R. Baker (R-AL): 1
C. Stenholm (D-TX): 2
G. Montgomery (D-MS): 2
J. Hansen (R-UT): 2
J. Hammerschmidt (R-AR): 3
J. Whitten (D-MS): 3
G. Vander Jagt (R-MI): 3

Highest Scores: Senate

A. Gore (D-TN): 115
J. Kerry (D-MA): 95
J. Lieberman (D-CT): 90
C. Pell (D-RI): 90
A. Cranston (D-CA): 89
T. Wirth (D-CO): 82
P. Leahy (D-VT): 80
H. Reid (D-NV): 79
B. Adams (D-WA): 71
D. Moynihan (D-NY): 68

Highest Scores: House of Representatives

B. Boxer (D-CA): 236
T. Weiss (D-NY): 219
R. Dellums (D-CA): 212
J. Scheuer (D-NY): 210
N. Pelosi (D-CA): 208
E. Towns (D-NY): 197
M. Owens (D-NY): 194
C. Collins (D-IL): 190
J. Lewis (D-GA): 186
P. DeFazio (D-OR): 185
W. Owens (D-UT): 185
G. Ackerman (D-NY): 184
C. Atkins (D-MA): 183
F. Stark (D-CA): 181
P. Kostmayer (D-PA): 180
G. Brown (D-CA): 179
H. Wolpe (D-MI): 175
S. Gejdenson (D-CT): 171
B. Dwyer (D-NJ): 159
C. Bennett (D-FL): 157

Statistical information courtesy of  Voting Green, Your Complete Guide to Making Political Choices in the 1990s, © 1992 by Jeremy Rifkin and Carol Grunewald Rifkin (Doubleday).