BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA
On Feb. 20, the New York League of Conservation Voters unveiled its 2012 Environmental Scorecard for the New York Congressional delegation. Of the 29 U.S. Representatives assessed, 13 had a score of 85 or higher, two of which represent Queens County.
“Indeed, the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives continues its war on the environment, public health and clean energy throughout 2012, cementing its record as the most anti-environmental house in our nation’s history,” Taurel argued.
He said the score was even more appalling when one considers the current climate crisis.
“Most of the country experienced extreme heat waves and severe drought throughout the summer of 2012, while the Arctic sea ice reached its lowest extent on record,” he said. “Hurricane Sandy brought even more devastation and destruction and was followed by the news that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the United States.”
The National Environmental Scorecard grades members of Congress on environmental, public health and energy issues on a scale 0-100 – 100 being the highest.
To obtain results, NYLC hired seven national environmental groups that made up a panel of 20 experts. Together, they compiled a list of the most pressing environmental legislation and awarded points for representatives who voted in favor. A missed vote docked the score.
Queens’ representatives scored comparatively lower than others in areas across New York. In Brooklyn, the Bronx and upstate, three members of Congress had a score of 85 and higher. However, Queens Congress members did have better scores than elected officials from Staten Island, Manhattan, Nassau County and Suffolk County.
Of the 29 council members assessed, five had a score under 15. Former U.S. Rep. Bob Turner, who represented New York’s 9th Congressional District, which encompassed parts of Middle Village and the Rockaways, had a three percent score – the lowest of all representatives.
By contrast, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) had a score of 97 percent, U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowely (D-Jackson Heights) had a score of 91 percent and U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) had a score of 77 percent.
“In the face of unprecedented attacks on laws protecting water, air, and land, environmental allies like Steve Israel (D-Nassau), Carolyn Maloney, and Maurice Hinchey (D-Hudson Valley) stood up for our values and put New Yorkers first,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of NYLCV, in a statement. “While Americans were seeing the historic impacts of extreme weather right outside their window, members like Tom Reed (R- Geneva) and former members Ann Marie Buerkle (R- Syracuse) and Bob Turner continued to ignore the reality of climate change.”
NYLC also rated U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, who scored a 93, and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who also scored a 93. Both scored significantly higher than the national Senate average of 53 percent.
To see the entire scorecard, visit www. scorecard.lcv.org.
Reach Reporter Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.