The Austin Chronicle

Lege's Environmental Report Card

By Lee Nichols, August 12, 2011, News

The Texas League of Conservation Voters has released its Legislative Scorecard on the 82nd Lege, and the results are fairly predictable: Democrats scored better than Republicans (though the GOP did better than one might expect), and Austin Dems received very high marks, including Best Conservation Legislator designations for Sen. Kirk Watson and Rep. Mark Strama. "What is striking about the Texas Legislature this year is the sheer volume of environmental legislation considered and the surprising amount of good bills passed and signed into law," said TLCV Executive Director David Weinberg. "Still, to be certain, the state budget was highly damaging for the environment, and the Lone Star State has a long way to go before becoming truly green." Watson received a perfect score on his enviro votes, and he was singled out for successfully pushing bills on water stewardship and TV recycling. Strama was commended for passing bills to incentivize natural gas use in transportation and to reduce natural gas flaring in power generation. Rep. Eddie Rodriguez received an Honorable Mention. Reps were scored on 34 key votes, senators on 32. Aside from Watson's 100%, other local scores include: Republicans Paul Workman's 69% and Larry Gonzales' (Williamson County) 75%; Dems Dawnna Dukes' 97%, Rodriguez's 94%, Elliott Naishtat's 97%, Donna Howard's 97%, and Strama's 94%.

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