Wilton legislators ranked on environmental priorities
The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters recently released its annual Environmental Scorecard, ranking state legislative voting pertaining to the environment, and scores have greatly improved from last year.
The appraisal looks at voting records of individual state legislators over the 2012 session of the Connecticut General Assembly, examining final House and Senate votes, focusing on every vote cast.
Average scores increased by 15% across the board, from 76% in 2011 to 91% this year.
The scores were linked to 21 bills included in the three-month legislative session, of which eight were determined hostile and 13 favorable, in regard to environmental impact.
A “hostile” bill was defined as attacking certain protections and laws, including the Environmental Protection Act; public access to open space; the state right to deny new cell towers in parks and conserved lands; pesticide bans; restrictions of tree cutting; and multi-pronged attacks on regulations in general.
“Favorable” bills included bills regulating outdoor wood furnaces, phosphorus in lawn fertilizers pollution, and safe pharmaceutical disposal.
Four bills deemed environmentally friendly were passed, and all “hostile” bills were defeated or transformed into “friendly” legislation, according to the League of Conservation Voters.
State Senator Toni Boucher, who represents Wilton, received a perfect rating.
“I have been a longtime environmental champion and will always fight for these issues in the Senate,” she said. “I care about clean air and water as a matter of public health and safety.”
A leader of the Transportation Committee, Ms. Boucher deals with issues of mass transit in the most heavily congested corridor in the nation.
She has advocated for rail signal upgrades, new rail cars, and helped pass the first rail passenger bill of rights.
She also voted to protect open space, bury power lines, reduce air pollution from outdoor wood burning furnaces, and modernize the state’s coastal zone management laws “in a way that balances environmental concerns with the rights of property owners.”
Ms. Boucher also supported bills that helped ensure the safe disposal of pharmaceuticals, in an effort to reduce phosphorus contamination in rivers, lakes and streams.
“Protecting our beautiful state’s environmental assets has been and will continue to be a priority for me and my district,” she said.
Wilton State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) also received a perfect score of 100% approval.
Ms. Lavielle co-sponsored bills that protect open space. She also supports reducing harmful levels of phosphorus in Connecticut’s waterways. Also important to the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters is her efforts to timely information to address sewage spills and modernize the state’s coastal management laws.
Ms. Lavielle protected Wilton by successfully fighting to kill legislation that would have weakened legal protection that ensures free public access to open space. She played a major role in protecting open space by passing legislation to obtain the right to protect the land in 2011.
“I will continue to support legislation that preserves and protects our environment and our natural resources, and as always, I will be attentive to ensuring that these initiatives are undertaken within a framework of sound fiscal discipline,” she said.
“I am grateful to the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters for its work on key environmental issues and I am honored to have been named an Environmental Champion.”
State Rep. John Hetherington (R-125) scored 90% for a variety of green initiatives, including bills to create a stewardship program for the collection, recycling and disposal of unwanted paint containers, and protecting towns from frivolous lawsuits from the use of public parks or recreational areas.
“Through my time in the General Assembly, I have made it a top priority to be a good steward for the environment,” he told The Bulletin’s sister paper The New Canaan Advertiser.
“I’m proud to once again be recognized by the bipartisan League of Conservation Voters. Keeping the needs of Connecticut’s residents in mind while trying to reduce our impact on the environment is a difficult task, but I believe we can achieve a balance that promotes a sustainable future.”