GOP Congress Gets 'F' Grade From Conservationists So Far
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Republican-led Congress has earned a failing grade from conservation and environmental groups for its first 100 days in office.
The League of Conservation Voters, The Wilderness Society and Clean Water Action – among others – have tallied a report card for Congress under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.
Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, says the lawmakers have earned a failing grade on lands, water, wildlife, pollution and climate action.
"It's an F from our perspective,” he states. “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."
Republicans in Congress say they are trying to promote growth by easing regulations. But critics charge what they're really doing is helping the corporations that give campaign donations.
April 15 marked the 100th day of the 114th Congress.
The EPA is putting forward stronger protections for drinking water and limits on carbon pollution from power plants. But congressional Republicans have tried – unsuccessfully – to stop the agency.
Polls show strong national support for action to slow climate change, even among Republican voters.
Jim Kotcon, who chairs the energy committee of the West Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, says Senate Republicans under McConnell have even tried to stop the Defense Department from planning for the security issues caused by rising seas.
"When the anti-climate extremism – as exemplified by Sen. McConnell – gets to the point where it threatens America's security, McConnell has gone too far," Kotcon asserts.
Karpinski adds congressional Republicans are even trying to undermine bedrock conservation laws – trying to dismantle protections for national parks, wildlife refuges, forests and wilderness.
But he says the president has worked to protect what Karpinski describes as the nation's treasures.
"Back to Teddy Roosevelt days, presidents have the authority to protect our public lands and to create new monuments, and it's been a very special process we've seen unfold for more than 100 years and hats of to President Obama to continue that legacy," Karpinski states.