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Nat'l Environmental Scorecard Reveals Diverging Priorities for MT Delegation

A new environmental scorecard shows a big difference in priorities for Montana's congressional delegation. (Pat Fosse/BLM)
A new environmental scorecard shows a big difference in priorities for Montana's congressional delegation. (Pat Fosse/BLM)
February 24, 2017

BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Montana congressional delegation's grades were high and low without much in between on a new national environmental scorecard unveiled by Montana Conservation Voters Friday.

The scoring was based on legislative votes on environment, energy and public health issues in 2016. Democratic Sen. Jon Tester earned an 88 percent, Republican Sen. Steve Daines, earned a 12 percent, and Rep. Ryan Zinke, also a republican, earned a 5 percent.

Juanita Vero, chair at Montana Conservation Voters, said there's a difference in priorities among the state's delegation.

"It seems that Sen. Tester knows our economy depends on protecting our clean air and water and public lands,” Vero said. “And I'm sure Sen. Daines and Rep. Zinke understand that too, but their votes largely supported corporate polluters. "

Vero said her organization appreciates the unified face all three members showed in supporting the Land and Water Conservation Fund last year.

Zinke is expected to be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior after the Congressional recess, and although he scored low on the scorecard, Vero said she is cautiously optimistic about the representative in his new role.

"With his support of Land and Water Conservation Fund and public opposition to the transfer and selloff of federal public lands, I hope he'll serve as an advocate for protection of America's public lands as the next Secretary of the Interior,” she said.

The scorecard was published by the League of Conservation Voters and set a new record for votes scored.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT