House Republicans receive lowest approval rating in 44 years by environmental group


Environmental activists inflate a long balloon to mock a pipeline during a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on Feb. 3, 2014 to protest against the Keystone pipeline project. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

With moderate, pro-environment Republicans increasingly squeezed out of the House, GOP members of that chamber last year earned their lowest collective score in the 44-year history of the League of Conservation Voters’ annual scorecard, which was released Tuesday morning.

House Republicans earned a collective approval rating of just 5 percent in 2013 on the 28 bills examined by the environmental group, which focuses on electoral politics. In 2008, Republicans scored 17 percent, and in 2012, 10 percent, said Jeff Gohringer, a spokesman for the organization. During the four years that Newt Gingrich held the speakership in the 1990s, House Republicans averaged an approval rating of nearly 22 percent from the group, he said.

Top scores, not surprisingly, went to delegations from states such as Connecticut (96 percent), New Hampshire (96 percent), Hawaii (95 percent), Maine (95 percent) and Massachusetts (94 percent). Low scores went to Wyoming (0 percent), Arkansas (3 percent) and Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota (all with 4 percent).

Collectively, Democrats earned an 87 percent rating.

The tally, selected by representatives of a variety of environmental interests, includes votes on the Keystone XL pipeline, offshore oil drilling, water protections, the social cost of climate change, logging expansion, ocean policy, fracking safeguards and many others.

In the Senate, Republicans fared somewhat better, with a collective score of 17 percent. Highest scores went to the delegations from Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Vermont, all of which earned perfect scores on the 13 issues examined by the group. The lowest-scoring delegations came from Wyoming (0 percent), Oklahoma (4 percent), Idaho (8 percent), Kentucky (8 percent) and Utah (8 percent).

Senate Democrats achieved a 92 percent score from the group.

Senate votes examined by the LCV panel included relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy, confirmation of Gina McCarthy as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, taxing carbon emissions and clean water protections.

Lenny Bernstein writes the To Your Health blog. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.
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