General Assembly Fails on Environment

More than 100 legislators score less than 60 percent on annual scorecard
For immediate release

Raleigh, NC—102 legislators earned a failing grade on Environment North Carolina’s annual legislative scorecard—a testament to the damage the General Assembly inflicted on the state’s air, water, and open spaces in their summer 2012 session. 

“From fast-tracking fracking, to eroding protections for waters like Jordan Lake, to slashing funds for state parks and other green spaces, the General Assembly failed our environment this year,” said Ouzts.  “No wonder so many lawmakers earned a failing grade on our annual scorecard.”

The scorecard tracks 12 contested votes in the House and 10 in the Senate on fracking, Jordan Lake, sea level rise, and sustainable agriculture.

Lawmakers made slight improvements over last year, when 71 House members and 35 Senators earned a failing grade.  Fifty-nine legislators didn’t cast a single vote for the environment in 2012, 35 percent of all state representatives and senators, compared to last year’s 46 percent.   

Rep. Chuck McGrady stood out among his Republican colleagues for scoring a 92 percent, while Rep. Bill Brisson was the lowest-scoring Democrat with 9 percent.

The highest profile environmental issue of 2012 was without a doubt “fracking,” the controversial gas drilling technique that has created air and water pollution around the country but is not currently permitted in North Carolina. 

The scorecard tracked lawmakers’ votes on Sen. Bob Rucho’s pro-fracking bill and on amendments offered to make the proposal less damaging for clean water and the environment.

While fracking took most of the session's spotlight, lawmakers also voted to weaken a 2009 plan to restore Jordan Lake and to ignore, at least for the next four years, scientists’ predictions about rising seas in the face of global warming.

Overall, 30 representatives and eight senators earned 100 percent scores.

“We thank these members for standing up for a cleaner, greener future,” said Ouzts.

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Environment North Carolina is a statewide, citizen-funded advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open spaces.