Nearly half of all N.C. legislators score a “zero” on the environment

The annual Environmental Scorecard is now out that ranks how friendly or unfriendly state legislators are to the environment, and the results aren’t pretty.

A record 55 representatives and 24 senators failed to cast a single vote in favor of the environment last year among votes that were used to measure ranking.

“Let’s face it, from drastic cuts to land conservation, to the promotion of drilling and fracking, to overturning protections for our waters, it was a bad year for the environment. This scorecard helps explain why,” said Elizabeth Ouzts, Environment North Carolina’s state director.

The scorecard tracks 10 contested votes in the House and 10 in the Senate.

Legislators scoring 100 percent were all Democrats, including Rep. Phil Haire, D-Sylva, and Rep. Ray Rapp, D-Mars Hill.

On the other side of the aisle, all Republican Senators, including Jim Davis of Franklin and Ralph Hise from Spruce Pine, got a score of 0.

Because the scorecard only tracked contested floor votes, the organization noted that it did not reflect “the few acts of the body that were kind” to the environment.

For example, the legislature unanimously enacted new standards to make new homes and businesses more energy-efficient. And the House leadership rejected “gutting” the state’s air toxics protection program, removing protections for the Neuse and Tar Pamlico Rivers and eliminating the state’s renewable energy standard altogether.

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