Michigan Environmental Scorecard Released; Look Up Your Legislator

michigan environmental scorecard

The new Michigan Environmental Scorecard has been released, highlighting key votes during the 2009-2010 legislative session in Lansing.

The Scorecard, produced by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, shows that the Michigan Senate was a roadblock to enacting legislation to protect the state's natural resources and public health.

The Scorecard is the signature accountability tool produced by the MLCV, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to holding elected officials accountable for their actions to promote or damage protections to natural resources and public health.
  
Citizens are encouraged to access the report to see how their elected officials are performing in Lansing.
 
The report is available online at www.archive2016.michiganlcv.org/scorecard.
 
"We publish the Michigan Environmental Scorecard to shine light on the inner workings of Lansing and to hold elected officials accountable for their actions," said Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
 
"This year’s Scorecard gives an all-encompassing picture of the conservation and environmental priorities of Michigan’s lawmakers, and arms citizens with the facts to hold these officials accountable."
 
The Scorecard was generated with the help of representatives from conservation and environmental organizations around the state. Policy critical to the health of Michigan’s natural resources and residents was examined, and state representatives and senators were assigned a percentage score based on their votes for and against the environment.
 
People can use the online Scorecard to find their legislators by ZIP Code, and see a lifetime score, and scores for the current and recent sessions. The Scorecard also includes contact information for each lawmaker, and links to campaign finance reports filed with the state.
 
There were 32 state representatives and 11 state senators who received a score of 100% in the latest Scorecard. Of those 43 officials, freshmen lawmakers like Reps. Dan Scripps (D-Northport), Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield), Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores) and Sens. Glenn Anderson (DWestland) and Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit) led the way.
 
On the other end of the spectrum, three state representatives scored a sad 0%: Representatives Justin Amash (R-Kentwood), Bob Genetski (R-Saugatuck), and Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills). On the Senate side, nine officials scored a 0%, including Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) and Assistant Majority Leader Michelle McManus (R-Lake Leelanau).
 
This year's Scorecard shows that inaction in the Senate was common theme of the legislative session.
 
Numerous bills were passed in the state House to protect Michigan citizens and children from toxic substances like mercury, arsenic and lindane. But none of the bills saw the light of day in the Senate, under the watch of Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop.
 
And, most of time spent by the Senate on conservation and environmental issues was spent trying to dismantle environmental protections. Bishop, for instance, supported repeated attempts to weaken protection and maintenance of the state's natural resources to the federal government’s minimum standards, opting for less state control of Michigan’s policies.
 
In the House, Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Township), scored a 78 percent. While this is a C+ by school standards, Dillon still has a lot of learning to do when it comes to environmental stewardship.
 
Dillon's demerits include public support of a proposed coal-fired power plant near Bay City. The plant commits the region to decades of polluting, fossil-fueled electricity at the expense of cleaner alternatives like energy efficiency, wind and solar power.
 
Dillon also worked with Mike “0%” Bishop to weaken natural resource protections by adding amendments to a routine pollution prevention bill.
 
“Sometimes you have to read between the lines,” Wozniak said. “In Andy Dillon's case, he received a passing grade, but deserves detention for some of his actions.”
 
There are some bright spots. Those include freshman lawmakers who have shown leadership on critical issues, and bipartisan cooperation on legislation to protect citizens from unnecessary chemical exposure.
 
The Michigan Public Service Commission also issued electricity consumption reports in 2009 concluding that a new coal-fired power plant wasn't necessary near Rogers City and encouraging Consumers Energy to shut down some of its existing fleet before building a new coal plant near Bay City.
 
"This report is designed to give people the tools they need to navigate the halls of Lansing," Wozniak said. "The Scorecard is a map to key issues that are of vital importance to the future of Michigan,including protection of our unique and unmatched natural resources.
 
"Our state's leaders, and citizens, must make it a priority to ensure that the environmental attributes that make our Great Lakes state truly great are preserved for future generations.
 
"People are busy, and don't always have the time to keep track of what's going on in Lansing. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters and its partners have been keeping a watchful eye on the Capitol. This Scorecard is the result, and should be seen as a resource to connect citizens with their lawmakers and inspire positive action moving forward."