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Do GOP lawmakers have the votes to avoid a government shutdown? Also on the Monday rundown: Groups laud Zinke’s departure, but worry about who’s next at the Interior Dept. Plus, a call for review of Veteran’s Administration dog research.

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Environmental Scorecard Holds AZ Lawmakers to Account

Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally earned an 11 percent rating on the latest Environmental Scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters. (McSally.house.gov)
Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally earned an 11 percent rating on the latest Environmental Scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters. (McSally.house.gov)
March 1, 2018

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The annual League of Conservation Voters environmental scorecard is out – and all five of Arizona's Republican U.S. House members and both senators scored 11 percent or less.

The League looked at how each lawmaker voted in 2017 and found Representatives Paul Gosar, David Schweikert, and Trent Franks never cast a single pro-environment vote.

Laura Dent, executive director of Chispa Arizona, a program of the League, says the state's four Democrat members of Congress all scored above 80 percent.

"It breaks out vote by vote how folks weigh in, so it's not an explicitly partisan approach,” she says. “It's really based on the issue and how people vote on them."

Representative Martha McSally, who is running to replace Jeff Flake in the Senate, has a lifetime rating of 6 percent. Representative Raul Grijalva got a 100 percent rating.

At issue are votes to confirm former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, a man who has sued the agency 14 times. Another vote opened up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Upcoming issues include the budget, which proposes huge cuts for the EPA, and the possibility of allowing more uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

Dent says the scorecard is a tool to give voters what they need to make an informed decision in the midterm elections in November.

"Projects like this help to make it really clear for folks,” says Dent. “Even if they don't have a really nuanced understanding of every issue that's moving through the federal circuit, they can take a look and see where folks fall."

Democrat Representatives Ruben Gallego and Tom O'Halleran each scored above 90 percent, while Democrat Representative Kyrsten Sinema, who is running for Senate, scored 80 percent in the 2017 ranking.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ