Naked City

Green Grades

Both the national and state chapters of the nonpartisan League of Conservation Voters have released their legislative scorecards, rating lawmakers on their environmental records for the past year. The methodology is relatively objective and straightforward: The LCV selects what it considers to be the most important environmental votes of the year, and notes whether the legislator in question voted pro- or anti-environment. Last year, the group scrutinized 14 key U.S. House votes and eight Senate votes, as well as nine Texas Legislature votes.

As usual, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett got a high pro-environment score, but he lost a few points for voting to allow oil drilling off the west coast of Florida. His 93% grade is his second-lowest ever; he had perfect scores in 1995, '97, '98, and 2000.

In fact, Doggett had the best score of the entire Texas delegation, the next best being Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, at 79%. Overall, Texas' House delegation averaged 32%. Sadly, if Houston Rep. Ken Bentsen wins his Senate race this year, his pathetic 50% would be a marked improvement over retiring Sen. Phil Gramm's 0%. (In Texas, progress is a relative thing.) Texas' other senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, also scored 0%.

At the state level, the Travis County delegation to the 77th Legislature was almost uniformly perfect, with the notable exception of GOP Rep. Terry Keel, who scored 33%. Reps. Ann Kitchen, Elliot Naishtat, Dawnna Dukes, retiring Glen Maxey, and Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos all scored 100%; for all but freshman Kitchen, it was their second consecutive perfect session. Keel actually improved over his 20% of 1999. The rest of the Lege looked pretty bad by comparison. The Senate averaged 47%, the House 45%.

The national LCV has issued annual scorecards since 1970. The Texas chapter began ranking the state Legislature in 1999.

For Naderites and others who believe there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans: Congressional Democrats averaged 82% in the Senate and 81% in the House; Republicans averaged 9% and 16%, respectively.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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