Buono Named An “Environmental Hero” But Many Lawmakers Flunk NJEF Report Card

TRENTON – Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Barbara Buono was named an “environmental hero” by the NJ Environmental Federation, who released a comprehensive scorecard for state legislators on environmental issues today.

According to the group, individual lawmakers took pro-environment position less than half of the time. Eight Republicans and Democrat Paul Sarlo, the state Senate budget chair, were deemed “environmental zeros.”

“This scorecard shows that despite New Jersey’s proud legacy of environmental leadership, our critical environmental and public health protections have been put at risk by state officials these past few years. The governor’s contribution to this crisis is well documented, but the State Legislature’s is not. This scorecard corrects that,” stated Amy Goldsmith, NJEF State Director.

The scorecard provides a comprehensive evaluation of the legislature as a whole, key sub-groups and all 120 individual legislators. It rates their votes, sponsorships, and leadership on the 18 most important, representative environmental bills acted on since January 2010, when Gov. Chris Christie began his term and the new legislative leadership took the reins. Legislators also received extra credit and/or demerits for extraordinary pro- and/or anti-environmental leadership.

“Unfortunately, too often, legislators are not making the grade. But there’s still hope! New Jersey residents want and deserve strong environmental protections,” said Janet Tauro, NJEF Board Chair. “We hope this scorecard will serve as a wakeup call to legislators and voters. We did it to make the public aware of what’s going on in Trenton, and to renew grassroots efforts to demand and support sound environmental action from the people they put in office.”

Twelve other lawmakers joined Buono as “environmental heroes” – all Democrats except for Republican state Senator Kip Bateman.

The report illustrates the rollback of long established environmental protections for water, land and air, as well as a failure to push forward new ones, including:

  • Democrats voted pro-environment 59% of the time, Republicans 32%, Democratic leadership 47%, and Republican leadership 45%.
  • The pro-environment position succeeded on only 4 of the 18 bills scored – 11 times blocked primarily by Democrats failing to act and 3 times blocked by Republicans’ refusal to override the governor’s vetoes of bills they’d previously supported.

“The votes speak for themselves and legislators are not voting for public health and the environment, something the NJ legislature has done on bi-partisan base for the past 40 years” added David Pringle, NJEF Campaign Director. “In fact, the legislature too often seems to be on a race to the bottom, reversing the safeguards of the past –putting our health, environment and future at risk.”

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