McCain Scores Zero on 2007 Environmental Voting Record

WASHINGTON, DC, February 21, 2008 (ENS) – In the 2007 National Environmental Scorecard released today by the League of Conservation Voters, Republican presidential hopeful Senator John McCain received a score of zero. The Scorecard is an annual measure of lawmakers’ votes on environmental issues.

McCain, an Arizona Republican, scored 0 percent in 2007 due to missing all 15 votes scored, including the key vote on repealing tax giveaways to big oil – a measure that failed by only one vote.

McCain was the only member of Congress to skip every crucial environmental vote scored by the LCV, posting a score lower than members of Congress who were out for much of the year due to serious illnesses, and even lower than some who died during the term.

Senator John McCain on the campaign trail
in New Hampshire. (Photo courtesy
McCain for President)

Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said, “We were appalled two weeks ago when John McCain was the only senator who chose to skip a crucial vote on the future of clean energy in America – dooming the measure to fail by just a single vote.”

“McCain missed votes to save his constituents $499 million dollars at the pump and at least $550 million on their energy bills, while creating more than 10,000 new clean energy jobs in his home state,” said Pope.

McCain posts a lifetime LCV environmental score of only 24. By contrast, the average member of Congress scored a 53 in 2007.

Still, McCain has received the endorsement of Republicans for Environmental Protection, the only environmental group recognized by the National Republican Party.

The presidential candidates’ scores all suffered from the occupational hazard of absenteeism. Senator Hillary Clinton, a New York Democrat, and Senator Barack Obam, an Illinois Democrat, missed four votes each in 2007.

Yet both made a point of being on hand for the key vote that would have allowed a version of the energy bill to move forward that included a provision to repeal billions of dollars in tax breaks for big oil and put that money toward clean energy programs.

Clinton’s score in 2007 was 73 percent and she scored 87 percent over her lifetime in the Senate.

Obama’s 2007 score was 67 percent, with an 86 percent lifetime score.

LCV President Gene Karpinski said the Scorecard shows that last year “marked a turning point for the environment, and proved that electing pro-environment candidates is a critical first step toward enacting sound environmental policies that will protect our planet and our future.”

“The progress of 2007, including passage of the first increase in fuel efficiency standards for automobiles in a generation, was largely due to new leadership in both the House and the Senate,” Karpinski said.

“We especially applaud Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Majority Leader [Harry] Reid for their leadership, and we also commend the many new members who came to Congress determined to bring about a clean energy future,” he said.

“As we begin the second half of the 110th Congress, we realize we still have a long way to go,” said LCV Legislative Director Tiernan Sittenfeld. “But we have high hopes that lawmakers will build on the progress of 2007. Most important, they must heed the warnings of the world’s leading climate scientists who say we have a very short window in which to avert the catastrophic effects of global warming.”

“This year, LCV urges Congress to pass legislation reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 20 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050,” Sittenfeld said. “Our future depends on it, and LCV will continue to work hard to educate the public on which lawmakers are helping us achieve those goals.”

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