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Conservationists: GOP Congress Gets ‘F’ For First 100 Days

PHOTO: Conservation and environmental groups are highlighting what they say is the destructive work of the Republican-led Congress' first 100 days under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo courtesy of Wild Virginia.
PHOTO: Conservation and environmental groups are highlighting what they say is the destructive work of the Republican-led Congress' first 100 days under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo courtesy of Wild Virginia.
April 16, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. - The Republican-led Congress has earned a failing grade from conservation and environmental groups for their first 100 days. Terra Pascarosa of Virginia Beach is regional manager with the Moms Clean Air Force, one of the groups tallying a report for Congress under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner.

She says the lawmakers have earned a failing grade on lands, water, wildlife and especially climate action.

"We have a moral obligation to our children and future generations to protect them from the carbon pollution that's putting their health at risk and we need to make sure we are supporting the Clean Power Plan going forward and our Congress is not doing that," says Pascarosa.

Republicans in Congress say they are trying to promote growth by easing regulations. But critics have charged what they're really doing is helping the corporations that give campaign donations.

Gene Karpinski, president with the League of Conservation Voters, says the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to protect our public health, and the air and water. But he says McConnell and the Republicans are trying to block them despite overwhelming public support.

"Sadly the polluters and some of their allies in Congress are trying to block EPA from doing its job," says Karpinski. "But the public understands the EPA has a job to do and they back the EPA in protecting our air and water."

Pascarosa says she sees a rift forming in Congress, with some Republicans joining Democrats such as Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine in supporting policies that will curb the carbon pollution fueling climate change.

"Most senators know humans are partially responsible for it, so they need to address climate change and make it a priority," says Pascarosa. "We want to applaud Kaine and Warner as examples of leaders who are trying to do the right thing in the face of continued obstruction of the public good."

April 15 marked the 100th day of the 114th Congress.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - VA