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Utah Delegation Hits Bottom in Conservation Scorecard

Arches National Park is one of Utah's numerous natural resources, but a new survey shows the state's congressional delegation routinely votes against most conservation issues. (National Park Service)
Arches National Park is one of Utah's numerous natural resources, but a new survey shows the state's congressional delegation routinely votes against most conservation issues. (National Park Service)
February 29, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY - Despite coming from one of the top states for natural beauty and resources, the Utah congressional delegation ranks at the bottom in the annual scorecard released by the League of Conservation Voters last week.

Utah's four House members and two senators rated a combined 3 percent in 2015 in favor of issues the League considers "pro-conservation."

Sara Chieffo, the League's vice president for government affairs, says Utah's elected representatives were decidedly anti-conservation.

"The average of the two senators was at 2 percent," says Chieffo. "The House delegation in Utah scored among the lowest of the state delegations in the entire United States Congress with just a 1 percent average."

Chieffo says Representative Chris Stewart was the only one of Utah's four House members to vote for an environmental issue, while Senator Mike Lee voted for only one of 25 conservation bills.

The rest of the congressional officials earned a zero percent rating.

Chieffo says as the makeup of Congress has changed over the past several years, so has its treatment of environmental and conservation issues.

"It's a clear recognition of the deep and broad assault we've seen on our environment in this U.S. House of Representatives," she says. "Unfortunately this year, they were joined in the Senate."

Utah's delegation may not be in step with the voters who put them in office.

In this year's 2016 Conservation in the West poll, 87 percent of Utah residents said they favored elected officials "finding common ground" rather than showing "no compromise" on conservation issues such as public lands, water and wildlife.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - UT