These are the bills we use as a reference to generate our House Scorecard on the Environment:
H.R. 1310, the Clean Water Protection Act, would end the old practice in mountaintop mining of just taking all the heavy-metal-polluted rubble, calling it "fill material," and dumping it into streams from which toxins leach into water supplies and deadly, muddy floodwaters are regularly unleashed.
In 2002, the Bush administration declared that toxin-laden debris from mountaintop removal could be declared "fill material" and dumped into mountain waterways. H.R. 1310 would declare such activity, already dangerous to human health and natural ecosystems, to be illegal.
In a document called the Monaco Declaration, hundreds of scientists from around the world warn that 'Ocean acidification is accelerating and severe damages are imminent'. Due to ocean acidification, animals like shellfish and corals are having a difficult time creating their shells and skeletons. Other ocean animals are experiencing disruptions in their reproductive behavior and general physiological functions as a result of the increased acidity. H.R.14, the Federal Ocean Acidification Research And Monitoring Act, would establish a regime of governmental research and monitoring of the progress of ocean acidification, with the goal of developing strategies for mitigation of ecological impact.
The Earth's oceans have entered an ecological crisis as massive as the seas themselves, and it threatens even those of us who live on the land. Oceans 21 is legislation that creates a comprehensive beginning for governmental intervention in this crisis. It establishes a national oceans policy, strengthens the ability of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration to deal with it, and establishes a framework for regional cooperation on issues as they arise.
The Farallon Islands are an uninhabited group of islands -- uninhabited by humans, that is. The Gulf of the Farralones is a sanctuary for marine birds, is a gathering point for marine mammals, and is host to a wide variety of ocean life due to the shallow depth of the water immediately surrounding it.
In short, the Farallon Island area is a biological treasure. It has value beyond its stark beauty as a biological bank, maintaining fisheries that sustain commerce as well. H.R. 223 is a bill before the Congress that would expand the boundaries of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary to more fully protect our national biological (and thereby industrial) health for the long term.
H.R. 310, passed by the House of Representatives on September 8, 2009, is regressive in many senses. Environmentally, it hands over a public lands to an organization that seeks to develop them for its own private uses. The bill assaults the separation of church and state by doing special favors for an organization that discriminates against non-religious Americans, refusing them employment and membership. The bill is also a blow against equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, because the organization discriminates in hiring and membership against them as well. Finally, the bill is an insult to Native Americans, giving over public lands so that they can be used in the mock rituals of an organization that encourages young boys to dress up in cartoonish versions of Native American costumes and pretend to be Indians.
The discriminatory organization this bill was designed to assist: The Boy Scouts of America, which seems to believe that it can attack the civic values of equality and respect for diversity, and still claim that any politician who dares protest is unpatriotic. Only seven members of the House of Representatives had the courage not to vote for this bill to coddle discrimination, and they only had the courage to vote "present".
Our oceans are in severe crisis, not just because of pollution, but also because of overfishing and climate change. It's irresponsible to ruin the marine resources of tomorrow in order to fill the gas tanks of today. On February 2, 2009, Representative Ed Markey remarked:
"Last year, as a result of opposition from the Bush Administration, the longstanding protections against drilling off the east and west coasts expired. As a result, the American people could now begin to see drill rigs as close as three miles to our beaches and in fragile ecosystems like Georges Bank. Allowing oil and gas drilling in Georges Bank would forever destroy this fragile ecosystem and our nationís most important fishery."
The Georges Bank Preservation Act, H.R. 790, would prevent oil companies from establishing offshore drilling operations on the Georges Bank, a very biologically productive area off the coast of New England. It would protect the fisheries of the Georges Bank rather than decimate them at a time when they are already threatened.
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Environmental Legislation Scorecard for the U.S. House of Representatives of 2009-2010 from That's My Congress
House Scorecards: Overall | Discrimination | Environment | Constitution | Economy | LGBT
Senate Scorecards: Overall | Discrimination | Environment | Constitution | Economy | LGBT
This is a historical record. Current Scorecards for the House and Senate are also available.
An overwhelming volume of data from multiple sources using multiple methods leads the scientific community to a shared understanding: that although individual humans are vanishingly small on a planetary scale, the billions of human beings and their industries are wreaking devastating environmental change. To combat pollution, ecosystem degradation and the destabilization brought on by climate change is beyond any one person to accomplish. We have to work together in a systematic effort to heal our environment, and that means coming to a political solution. On this page we identify those who have worked the hardest in defense of our natural environment in the House of Representatives. A second list names those in the House who have worked hardest to obstruct policies to protect the environment.
The Staunchest Defenders of the Environment in the House
The following members of the House of Representatives have put their support behind at least three positive environmental reform efforts during the 111th Congress. Click on a representative's name to discover more about his or her voting and cosponsorship record in detail.
Representatives Falling Into Environmental Degradation
In addition to passively resisting pro-environmental reforms, the following members of the House have not only failed to support a single positive environmentalist policy effort during the 111th Congress of 2009-2010 -- they've also actively supported policies that harm the environment. A depressingly long list, isn't it? Click on a representative's name to discover more about his or her voting and cosponsorship record in detail.
If you can't find your representative's name on either the honor roll or the dishonor roll, she or he belongs to the mushy middle in Congress: those who may not rank among the worst backers of pollution and environmental malfeasance in America, but also those who haven't done as much as they could to shepherd the country into a more sustainable future.
To find out more about your representative's record of voting and cosponsorship, access our overall U.S. House rankings here.
Read below for the latest coverage of discrimination-related political developments from That's My Congress and Irregular Times: