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MT Delegation's Rating Mixed in National Environmental Scorecard

Montana's delegation in Washington, D.C., got mixed reviews in the 2015 League of Conservation Voters Environmental Scorecard. (pharnshot/iStockphotos)
Montana's delegation in Washington, D.C., got mixed reviews in the 2015 League of Conservation Voters Environmental Scorecard. (pharnshot/iStockphotos)
February 25, 2016

HELENA, Mont. - Montana's lone congressman and one of its two senators got some of the lowest scores in the country on the League of Conservation Voters' annual Environmental Scorecard, released Wednesday.

The report showed U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke voted for pro-conservation bills just three percent of the time. And Sen. Steve Daines has that record beat, getting a percentage rating of zero.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jon Tester got an 84 percent rating. Juanita Vero, chairwoman of Montana Conservation Voters, says Zinke and Daines voted against Montana's best interests on issues such as the Clean Power Plan and the EPA's Clean Water Rule rule.

"Members like Rep. Zinke and Sen. Daines voted to put polluters' agenda ahead of the health of Montanans and protecting our outdoor heritage," says Vero. "Fortunately, members like Tester consistently stood up to these radical attacks and stood up for more common-sense Montana values."

One example the scorecard highlights is Daines' failed amendment to the Keystone Pipeline bill that would have required all new national monuments to get approval from Congress and the state legislatures, undermining the president's powers under the Antiquities Act.

Vero says in 2015, the Republican-controlled House and Senate launched a near-record number of attacks on conservation measures, something she thinks voters should consider.

"Conservation issues affect the water we drink, the land we hunt on and the air we breathe," says Vero. "Voters need to understand how our representatives in Washington are voting and how that affects our outdoor heritage."

Tester has two more years on his term. Daines isn't up for reelection until 2020, but Zinke is on the November ballot.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MT