March 1, 2008

McCain Scores Zero, Texas Fails on National Environmental Scorecard

The League of Conservation Voters recently released their 2007 scorecard for Congressional Conservation Voting Records and John McCain scored a zero for the whole year of 2007. In fact, two dead Congressmen scored higher than McCain.

McCain was the only member of Congress to skip every single crucial environmental vote scored by the organization. Wow, really? You claim to be a proponent of the environment and you missed every single vote on conservation last year? Carl Pope, Executive Director of Sierra Club, had this to say.

Every other Member who received a zero from LCV last year at least had the
temerity to show up and vote against the environment and clean energy time after
time. And unlike John McCain, I doubt any of them would claim to be
environmental leaders or champions on global warming.

More importantly for those of us in the Lone Star State is how awful our state fared on the scorecard. In the Senate, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison scored 3% on the 15 issue scorecard. Cornyn, along with McCain was joined by 5 others in the Senate with 0%. The House fared just a little better with 30% but 13 of our 32 Representatives scored a 0%. This is pathetic in a state that has so much potential to lead the way in conservation and environmental policy innovation. Texas has a massive intellectual community# per capita, concentrated in 4 of the largest research campuses and biotech industry hubs in the nation. If our leaders could commit to progressive policies we will see the results in 10-15 years, but we need to harness and incubate newly-born technology now! A down payment now will pay off greatly for our future by allowing us first access to commercial products based on renewable energy and energy efficiency. The warning should be for now, every kilowatt is going to keep getting more expensive as long as we rely on a source with limited capacity and a finite reserve!

But I digress, the Texas score highlights a general trend within the parties with Democrats scoring much higher than their Republican counterparts. Democratic Senator leadership scored a 91 while the Republicans scored a 7.

Democratic leaders were Majority Leader Reid (NV, 87%), Durbin (IL, 93%) Majority Whip, and Schumer (NY, 93%) Conference Vice Chair. Republican leaders were McConnell (KY, 7) Minority Leader, Lott (MS, 0%) Minority Whip, and Kyl (AZ, 13%) Conference Secretary.

In the House the numbers are no better for the Republicans as they clock in with an underwhelming 2%. The Democrats scored 87%.

Democratic leaders were Pelosi (CA, NA*) Speaker, Hoyer (MD, 90%) Majority Leader, Clyburn (SC, 80%) Whip, Emanuel (Il, 90%). Republicans were Boehner (OH, 0%) Minority Leader, Blunt (MO, 0%) Minority Whip, Putnam (FL, 5%) Conference Chair.

The Republicans need to stop protecting big industry on these issues (take a look at those links and honestly tell me all of them aren't screwing you). Companies make large amounts of money and sway much of policy, this is unfair for consumers as none of this money can guarantee a healthy future for anyone. Hopefully people will wake up and demand that these type of issues be discussed and dealt with appropriately. The scientific community is screaming for the opportunity to innovate, but the money isn't there.

At the Biotech company I work at there is a strain all year to produce vast quantities of proposals in the hope that a few get picked and can fund enough of the payroll to write more proposals. Whatever pathetic amount is squeezed out of that goes to actual research, stunting the ability to truly unleash our intellectual wealth.

Google has pledged $20 million on solar and wind technology and in a press release said it "anticipates investing hundreds of millions of dollars in breakthrough renewable energy projects which will [sic] generate positive returns." That's pretty frightening guys, think about it. A corporation is going to outpace our government at seed level research and will reap the benefits in the future.

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*The Speaker of the House votes at her discretion

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