October 3, 2008
Sierra Club’s Pennsylvania chapter and Clean Water Action issued a joint environmental scorecard for the Pennsylvania legislature’s 2007 activities. The Pennsylvania Senate scorecard contains the October 2007 senate confirmation vote on Appalachian’s president, Josh First, who at that time was Governor Ed Rendell’s nominee to the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of directors.
Josh First commented on the inclusion of the confirmation vote in the scorecard by saying “Scorecards are often difficult to understand, and well do I recall initiating the effort to design a new environmental scorecard for Republicans for Environmental Protection. It’s not an easy task. In this case, however, I can’t help but say that I understand the rating of the vote. No question about it, I would have brought a significant environmental quality focus to the Game Commission’s mission and activities.”
The Scorecard is available for download at either www.cleanwateraction.org/pa or at www.pennsylvania.sierraclub.org/pa_environmental_scorecard.pdf.
Additionally, for the purposes of better understanding of this scorecard and its political context, comments on it by Pennsylvania Senate staff are included below:
“Your readers should look with a skeptical eye at the "scorecards" released by the Sierra Club and Clean Water Action. Unfortunately, the votes selected for the scorecard are arbitrary and intended to reflect these groups' partisan agendas. A quick glance reveals some notable inconsistencies and/or questionable votes included in the Senate scorecard, such as:
Including the confirmation vote of one environmental cabinet nominee (DEP), but excluding another (DCNR). However, an obscure vote for a Game Commission board member [Josh First] is included.
Voting against the tolling of I-80 is considered “anti-environmental”. Yes, that is correct.
A vote on including $25 million to reduce pollution from coal power plants was considered “anti-environmental”. A similar provision included in the House-approved bill was not counted against House members.
A vote on SS SB 25 – which expands the use of alternative energy in the Commonwealth – was also considered “anti-environmental”. To understand this mindset – it is akin to calling a doubling of the use of solar energy “anti-environmental” because you didn’t triple it.
Numerous other Senate-approved bills were excluded from the scorecard, including: Establishment of the PA Center for Environmental Education, Comprehensive update to the Mine Safety law, Passage of H20 PA (SB 2) and SB 1341, which collectively invest $1.2 billion in water, wastewater, dam safety and flood mitigation, HB 1202 and SS SB 22, which collectively significantly expand PA’s use of biofuels, SB 1330 – providing for landowner protections for coal-bed methane development.”
Patrick Henderson, Executive Director
Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee
Office of Senator Mary Jo White, Chairman