Corporatism, Green Energy, Rick Snyder — January 8, 2014 at 1:12 pm

SCORECARD: Sierra Club Michigan gives Gov. Snyder failing grade on protecting our state’s environment


Rick Snyder the MINO: Moderate in Name Only

Today, the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club released a scorecard rating Governor Rick Snyder on his record regarding energy, environment, good government and related issues.

Spoiler alert: He failed. Miserably. He received a rating of 25%.

The Scorecard includes 32 key decisions made by Gov. Snyder on environmental issues including 25 bills signed into law, two bills vetoed, and five administrative actions regarding permits and DEQ/DNR programs. Snyder signed 17 bills into law that were direct attacks on environmental protections. He signed 6 bills designed to protect the environment and also vetoed one bill attacking environmental protections. He signed four bills into law and vetoed 1 that were direct attacks on our democracy. The five administrative actions weakened access to clean air, water and land.

Mike Berkowitz, Legislative and Political Director of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, was blunt. “75 percent of decisions made by Gov. Snyder in our Scorecard contribute toward polluting our water, air, land and undermining public health and good government,” he said. “These are the wrong priorities for residents of the Great Lakes State.”

Snyder was given high marks in one area: establishing a regional transportation authority for southeast Michigan. Other than that, he seemed determined to sacrifice environmental protections in the Great Lakes State in order to keep corporate interests happy by reducing their “burden” when it comes protecting our state’s precious natural resources.

James D’Amour, the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter’s Political Committee Vice Chair, is a Republican who voted for Snyder in 2010. During a call with journalists today he said, “After seeing the results of the Scorecard, I’ve come to regret that vote. Michigan used to be a leader in protecting the environment under Republican governors like William Milliken, but it’s not that way anymore.”

“Any form of environmental protection is seen as a threat to personal liberty,” D’Amour said.

A study conducted the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication in 2012 showed that most Americans favor environmental protections and don’t see it as harmful to our economy. From their report:

  • 92 percent of Americans think that developing sources of clean energy should be a very high (31%), high (38%), or medium (23%) priority for the president and Congress. Among registered voters, 96 percent of Democrats and Independents, and 84 percent of Republicans think clean energy should be a priority.
  • 72 percent of Americans think that global warming should be a very high (12%), high (28%), or medium (32%) priority for the president and Congress. Among registered voters, 84 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of Independents, and 52 percent of Republicans think global warming should be a priority.
  • 83 percent of Americans think that protecting the environment either improves economic growth and provides new jobs (58%) or has no effect on economic growth or jobs (25%).

Despite these facts, our state legislators, working with Governor Snyder, are voting against the interests of most of our state’s residents.

The chair of Sierra Club’s Political Committee Richard Barron told those of us on the call that the Sierra Club felt that this first-ever gubernatorial Scorecard was important to distinguish campaign promises given by self-described “moderates” like Rick Snyder from their actions. Now, after three years of failed leadership and a record on environmental protection that speaks for itself, Michigan voters have a yardstick by which to measure him on these issues.

Once again, Rick Snyder’s marketing campaign depicting himself as a moderate is belied by the facts. His record shows that he is simply another extremist, corporatist Republican who puts the interests of his business associates ahead of the interests of Michigan voters and, more tragically, against the interests of our beautiful state and the invaluable natural resources for which we are all stewards.

A summary of the bills and decisions considered in the Scorecard can be found HERE.