The Michigan legislature has had a lot of bad ideas about our environment. Here’s who voted for them
This hasn’t been a great couple of years for environmental protection in Michigan. To help us all keep track, and hold the legislature accountable, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters released its legislative scorecard last week, rating the Michigan House and Senate on their environmental actions – or lack thereof – over the last legislative session (PDF). (DISCLOSURE: I sit on the board of the Michigan LCV Education Fund, but all the opinions in this piece are my own, not those of the organization).
Here are the worst members of the legislature on environmental issues, according to Michigan LCV’s ratings. Is your representative or senator on one of these lists?
The lowest-scoring Senators. Seven senators scored 0%:
- Jack Brandenberg (R-Harrison Township)
- Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba)
- Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell)
- Joe Hune (R-Hamburg)
- Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair)
- David Robertson (R-Grand Blanc)
- Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton)
The lowest-scoring Representatives. In the House, the average score was higher, and there were no scores of zero, but four still scored 20% or below:
- Ray Franz (R-Onekama), 5%
- Ken Goike (R-Ray Township), 10%
- Bob Genetski (R-Saugatuck), 15%
- Pat Somerville (R-New Boston), 20%)
Among other votes in committee and on the floor, the Senators and Representatives above all voted to a) roll back protections for Michigan’s wetlands, b) relax permitting for chemicals used to manage aquatic invasive species, and c) classify toxic industrial byproducts as “beneficial use materials” and allow them to be used in road construction. All three of these bills are now law in Michigan, by the way, having passed both House and Senate and been signed by the Governor.
Below-average Democrats. Although Democrats in the legislature have higher scores on average than Republicans, they aren’t all champions. Three House Democrats scored under 50% — maybe voters in their district should consider this next time primaries roll around:
The scorecard also rates legislators on the bills they introduce, such as Representative Aric Nesbitt‘s bright plan to redefine “renewable energy” to include petcoke and incineration or the ideas floated by Representatives Ed McBroom, Bob Genetski, and Mike Shirkey, and Senators Casperson and Moolenaar to use the Natural Resources Trust Fund (approved by voters for parks, trails and recreation) for things like dredging or transportation.
So take a look, find your Rep and Senator, and let them know what you think of their environmental voting record.