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Conservation Groups Give Congress an "F" for First 100 Days

PHOTO: Conservation and environmental groups give Congress a failing grade for its first 100 days of work in the 114th session, for lack of effort to protect the environment. Photo credit: chelle/morguefile.
PHOTO: Conservation and environmental groups give Congress a failing grade for its first 100 days of work in the 114th session, for lack of effort to protect the environment. Photo credit: chelle/morguefile.
April 22, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Earth Day festivities are under way in Missouri and across the nation today. But as environmental groups take stock of the work lawmakers have done to protect air, water, lands and public health, they aren't finding much cause for celebration.

Public opinion research has found strong support for climate action. However, Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, said Republican lawmakers deserve a failing grade for their efforts to dismantle safeguards against carbon pollution and derail the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan.

"It's an 'F' from our perspective," he said. "Polluters and their allies in Congress, who invested over $700 million in this new Congress, are doing all they can to try to wreck with our public-health protections and destroy the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act."

Congressional Republicans insist they are trying to promote growth by easing regulations, but their critics have charged what they're really doing is helping the corporations that donated to their campaigns. April 15 marked the 100th day of the 114th Congress.

When it comes to protecting Earth from the effects of climate change, said Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club legislative director, congressional gridlock has consequences.

"Every day that we fail to act to address resilience and adaptation and think about protecting our infrastructure, really puts the country at risk," she said.

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, and Karpinski said it's important to reflect on the progress made in protecting the environment.

"The Clean Water Act has been one of the best success stories we've seen in the last 40 years to reduce pollution in our water," he said. "The Clean Air Act has also been an incredible success to protect us from much of the damaging air pollutants. With the challenge of climate change in front of us, we have more progress to make."

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO