Breaking down Stefanik’s low ratings on environmental issues

know about Breaking down Stefanik’s low ratings on environmental issues

US Representative Elise Stefanik during a press event earlier this year in Brunswick, NY (Will Waldron/Times Union)

Congresswoman takes hits on League of Conservation Voters scorecard

By EJ Console II

The 2021 legislative session marked U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik’s League of Conservation Voters’ lowest rating since 2015, ending a trend of generally increasing scores.

The drop came after the league took into account more votes outside of strictly environmental issues.

The congresswoman’s score of 13 out of 100 in 2021 was the lowest she received from the league since earning a 9 in 2015, her first year in office. The 13th was second-lowest among the 27 members of the New York House of Representatives, higher only than Claudia Tenney of New Hartford’s 10 and tied with freshman lawmaker Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island, also a Republican.

Stefanik still has a career average score of 35, down three points from her 38 average in 2020, the highest of her seven years in the House.

The number of votes represented that the league described as “the biggest issues of the year, including energy, climate change, public health, environmental and racial justice, worker protection, democracy, public lands and wildlife conservation, and spending on environmental programs.”

The league was based on “a consensus of experts from more than 20 respected environmental, environmental justice, and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which members of Congress should be scored.”

The nature of those bills has changed over time, with fewer directly addressing issues like climate change, pollution, and environmental stewardship and more dealing with social justice, such as voting rights, workers’ rights, immigration, the 2020 presidential election and January 6. Assault on the United States Capitol. Of the 22 bills, 11 focused on environmental concerns, far fewer both numerically and proportionally than in the last six analyses.

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The league said the scoring system reflected that 2021 was “an unprecedented year for our democracy” and that “the health of our democracy and our environment are deeply intertwined.”

Stefanik’s spokesman, Palmer Brigham, cited the increased emphasis on social justice issues as the reason for the congresswoman’s lower score.

“The biggest change to this scorecard is that the so-called “environmental” priorities you selected do not have an environmental impact on the Adirondacks or on families in New York’s 21st Ward. In fact, at least half of the chosen banknotes were labeled by [LCV] as social justice initiatives and focus on political warfare, rather than environmental policy,” Brigham said in an email.

The league “has made it clear that it would rather push a far-left politicized agenda than consider serious legislation,” he said.

Brigham noted that Stefanik recently passed measures to protect the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes from oil spills, secured annual funding for acid rain monitoring and mitigation, and co-sponsored the Growing Climate Solutions Act so that easier for farmers and the private sector. landowners to participate in carbon markets.

Stefanik cast what the league described as the “environmental vote” on two bills: one to fund a program to help Native American tribes manage bison on tribal lands, the other to certify the voters list. Arizona presidential.

Their “no” votes included the Investment in a New Vision for America’s Environment and Surface Transportation Act, which was incorporated into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by the Senate and signed into law on November 15, and the Better Building Act. Act.

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The infrastructure bill contained funds to improve roads, bridges, and rail lines, as well as water and wastewater treatment facilities; the construction of wildlife crossings on public roads; fight against invasive species; protect pollinators; expand hydropower and broadband availability. The Build Back Better Act, which is still under negotiation, included provisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air and water pollution, as well as funding for clean energy technology, improved energy efficiency, and agriculture.” climate smart”.

Stefanik voted against the Build Back Better Act because, while it contained provisions that would directly address some concerns affecting her district, “it includes a radical far-left agenda beyond climate provisions,” Brigham said.

Stefanik has previously said that he plans to introduce separate legislation to address some of the environmental measures included in Build Back Better.

Stefanik also voted against bills to control methane emissions and address PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination that has been found in the Hoosick Falls water supply.

The two candidates seeking the Democratic line to challenge Stefanik in November said the league’s scorecard shows the four-term congresswoman puts politics before her constituents.

Matt Castelli, the winner of the Democratic primary, said that “the terrible environmental score is just another example of his record of putting his loyalty to his party before the needs of our region.”

“Our local farms depend on clean water, healthy soil and a predictable growing season, and the Adirondack Park is a precious resource that drives our local economy, offers us recreation and provides clean air and water for the entire state,” he said in an email. “Where we should be welcoming investments in our district and inviting renewable energy projects, Stefanik rejects them.”