Shelley Vinyard,
Environment North Carolina

N.C. General Assembly Earns a Failing Grade on the Environment

State senate marks are particularly low
For Immediate Release

RALEIGH, NC- Nearly two-thirds of the Senate—32 members in total—earned a failing grade this year on standing up for the environment, according to Environment North Carolina’s 2013 legislative scorecard released today.

The grades reflect another year of radical attacks on the state’s air, water and open space protections by N.C. senators.

The 2013 scorecard tracks nine contested votes in the House and thirteen votes in the Senate.  Lawmakers are graded based on the number of votes they cast for the environment when they are present, and are given a “lifetime” score as well as a grade for the year.

Sixty members of the N.C. House scored less than 17 percent, with twenty-four earning a zero.

“This year, the Senate approved extreme measures to rush the state into fracking, do away with protections for our beaches, rivers and lakes, and dismantle our environmental commissions,” said Elizabeth Ouzts, Environment North Carolina state director.  “Given all the Senate’s attacks on the environment this year, their dismal scores are disappointing, but not all that surprising.”

Senators introduced and approved a myriad of laws to rollback environmental protections in 2013, many aimed at the Triangle area.   They voted in vast numbers, and largely along party lines, to stop Dix Park, repeal the cleanup plan for Jordan Lake and force the City of Durham to provide water to a controversial development near Jordan Lake. 

The attacks on the state’s environmental protections began almost as soon as lawmakers convened.  In January, senators adopted S-10, which fires all members of the state’s environmental commissions, allowing a majority of their replacements to represent polluters, developers and other special interests.

In February, they voted to lift the state’s moratorium on fracking and allow injection of toxic wastewater underground.

H-74, which drastically limits local control over air and water protections, weakens protections for groundwater and begins the repeal of thousands of environmental regulations, also became law.

But many of the Senate’s most extreme attacks on the environment did not become law, thanks to an outcry from citizens and bipartisan opposition in the House.  The clean up plan for Jordan Lake was delayed, rather than repealed.  The state’s fracking moratorium remains in place. 

Thirty members of the General Assembly consistently stood up against these attacks and voted to mitigate—rather than exacerbate—environmental harm, earning scores of 100 percent.

“We’re grateful for these champions,” said Liz Kazal, field associate with Environment North Carolina.  “But the fact is, the environmental zeroes far outnumber the heroes right now in the General Assembly, and that’s bad news for our air, our water and our quality of life.”

Other key findings of this year’s scorecard include:

  • Rep. Chuck McGrady was the only Republican in either the House or the Senate to earn above 50 percent, with a score of 89 percent.   Sen. Tamara Barringer was the highest scoring Senate Republican with 17 percent..
  • Twenty-five members of the house earned a 100 percent score, all democrats.  Five members of the senate earned a perfect score.
  • The lowest scoring democrats were Rep. William Brisson with 20 percent, and Sen. Mike Walters with 44 percent.
  • 23 senators and 33 representatives earned a zero.
  • In Senate, the overall average score was 31 percent.  The average for Republicans was 3 percent, and the average for Democrats was 82 percent.
  • In the House, the overall average score was 38 percent.  The average for Republicans was ten percent, and the average for democrats was 87 percent.

“We urge other members of the General Assembly to join with those senators and representatives who already stand up to special interests and put the North Carolina’s environment first. We need to continue to work to strengthen—not dismantle—our environmental laws that protect the air we breathe, water we drink and our most treasured places,” said Kazal.

2013 NC Senators with 0% Score

  • Bill Cook (1)
  • Norman W. Sanderson (2)
  • Louis Pate (7)
  • Bill Rabon (8)
  • Thom Goolsby (9)
  • Brent Jackson (10)
  • Ronald J. Rabin (12)
  • Rick Gunn (24)
  • Phil Berger (26)
  • Trudy Wade (27)
  • Jerry W. Tillman (29)
  • Shirley B. Randleman (30)
  • Peter S. Brunstetter (31)
  • Stan Bingham (33)
  • Andrew C. Brock (34)
  • Tommy Tucker (35)
  • Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr. (36)
  • Bob Rucho (39)
  • Kathy Harrington (43)
  • David L. Curtis (44)
  • Dan Soucek (45)
  • Ralph Hise (47)
  • Tom Apodaca (48)
  • Jim Davis (50)

2013 NC Senators with 100% Score

  • Dan Blue (14)
  • Josh Stein (16)
  • Mike Woodard (22)
  • Eleanor Kinnaird (23)
  • Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr. (49)

2013 NC House Representatives with 0% Score

  • Jimmy Dixon (4)
  • Susan Martin (8)
  • Brian Brown (9)
  • John R. Bell, IV (10)
  • George G. Cleveland (14)
  • Phil Shepard (15)
  • Frank Iler (17)
  • Jeff Collins (25)
  • James H. Langdon, Jr. (28)
  • Paul Stam (37)
  • Marilyn Avila (40)
  • Jim Fulghum, M.D. (49)
  • Mike C. Stone (51)
  •  James L. Boles, Jr. (52)
  • David R. Lewis (53)
  • Jon Hardister (59)
  • John Faircloth (61)
  • Justin P. Burr (67)
  • Dean Arp (69)
  • Mark W. Hollo (73)
  • Allen McNeill (78)
  • Rena W. Turner (84)
  • Rob Bryan (88)
  • Sarah Stevens (90)
  • Jason Saine (97)
  • Jacqueline Michelle Schaffer (105)
  • Dana Bumgardner (109)
  • Kelly E. Hastings (110)
  • Tim Moore (111)
  • Chris Whitmire (113)
  • Nathan Ramsey (115)
  • Michele D. Presnell (118)
  • Roger West (120)

2013 NC House Representatives with 100% Score

  • Annie W. Mobley (5)
  • Bobbie Richardson (7)
  • George Graham (12)
  •  Joe P. Tolson (23)
  • Jean Farmer-Butterfield (24)
  • Larry D. Hall (29)
  • Paul Luebke (30)
  • Rosa U. Gill (33)
  • Grier Martin (34)
  • Marvin W. Lucas (42)
  • Rick Glazier (44)
  • Charles Graham (47)
  • Valerie P. Foushee (50)
  • Deb McManus (54)
  • Verla Insko (56)
  • Pricey Harrison (57)
  • Alma Adams (58)
  • Evelyn Terry (71)
  • Becky Carney (102)
  • Carla D. Cunningham (106)
  • Susan C. Fisher (114)
  • Joe Sam Queen (119)