State’s representatives earn pro-environment scores

Connecticut’s U.S. senators — Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both Democrats — have received perfect scores of 100% from the League of Conservation Voters in its 2015 National Environmental Scorecard. Connecticut was one of eight states with perfect environmental scores in the Senate.

Congressman Jim Himes (D-4th), who represents Wilton, received the lowest score of the Connecticut delegation, 89%. Receiving 97% were Connecticut’s House members John Larson (D-1st), Joe Cortney (D-2nd) and Rosa DeLauro (D-3rd). Elizabeth Esty (D-5th) had a perfect score of 100%. No state had a perfect house record.

The scorecard, which was issued last week, represents the consensus of experts from about 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which members of Congress should be scored.

Twenty-five Senate bills were taken into account that had to do with air quality, climate change, lands/forests, dirty energy, wildlife, clean energy, clean water, and other topics such as fast track of trade agreements, which the pro-environment camp said could have a negative effect on environmental policies and protections around the world. In the House, 35 bills were considered.

Annual scores are based on a scale of 0 to 100 and are calculated by dividing the number of pro-environment votes cast by the total number of votes scored.

Himes cast what is considered an anti-environment vote on liquefied natural gas exports, fast-track trade agreements, and the crude oil export ban. He was absent for the vote on attacking public interest and environmental review, which is considered an anti-environment vote.

In those cases, Himes voted for fast-track trade agreements, as well as a bill on liquefied natural gas exports that would expedite export applications. This process, the league said, offers an incentive for more hydraulic fracturing, which creates “enormous greenhouse gas emissions through releases of methane.” The crude oil export ban, which Himes also voted for, will lift the United States’ 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil. The league said this could increase oil production by as much as 500,000 barrels per day, increasing the risk of drilling off the coasts, in the Arctic and on public lands.