HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard coalition, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, Sierra Club Pennsylvania, Clean Water Action, and PennEnvironment, released the 2019-2020 legislative session scorecard today. The 2019-2020 Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard compiles the most crucial environmental votes that the Pennsylvania General Assembly took during the current legislative session. The scorecard is available at www.conservationpa.org/scorecard.
The votes calculated in the 2019-2020 Environmental Scorecard reflect a shocking denial of science that risks the health and safety of Pennsylvania’s residents for generations to come. In the 2017-2018 session, there were only 18 legislators with 0% scores; this session there are 116 legislators with a 0% score, marking a 500% increase in bad voting records on environmental issues.
“In the face of a climate crisis, a global pandemic, impending recession, and record-setting budget deficits, our state’s legislative leaders wasted their time attacking environmental regulations and giving away hundreds of millions of dollars to the natural gas industry,” said Josh McNeil of Conservation Voters of PA. “When almost half of our legislators find themselves so beholden to industry that they couldn’t cast a single vote to protect the safety of the air and water their constituents rely on, something has gone seriously wrong in Harrisburg. Maybe it’s something in the water.”
While the majority of the legislature and their leadership may be following a darker path, two years ago, voters elected a record number of new pro-environmental lawmakers who made their voices heard in important fights ranging from over lead in drinking water, PFAS chemicals to tackling environmental justice. Existing environmental champions like Rep. Steve McCarter (D-154) and Rep. Carolyn Comitta (D-156), along with these new pro-environment champions, paint a clear picture of a cleaner future for Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, despite this progress, only 49 lawmakers scored higher than 90% in the new scorecard.
“The most pressing issue of our time is the climate crisis,” said Representative Carolyn Comitta (D-156), vice-chair of the legislative Climate Caucus. “ I am proud to stand with my colleagues to shape a healthy future for our children, and encourage more of my colleagues to do the same as it is our constitutional responsibility to protect the environment for all of our constituents.”
Pennsylvania’s constitution guarantees our right to a clean and healthy environment, yet Pennsylvania is the third-highest emitter of climate pollution in the nation and has the third-highest rate of cancer. Rates of lung diseases like asthma remain far above the national average, and many counties rank among the worst communities in America for air pollution. More than a third of our lakes and a fifth of our streams are considered greatly impaired.
“68% of Pennsylvania’s residents rank protecting the environment as a top issue and pro-environment candidates are winning the vast majority of elections in PA,” McNeil continued. “If legislative leaders continue to gorge on the political contributions of polluting industries while forcing their rank and file members to actively harm the health of their own constituents, they aren’t going to be in leadership much longer.”
For more information about the scorecard, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org