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For Immediate Release February 24, 2004 Contact Brian Kennedy at (202) 226-9019

LCV "Scorecard" Political, Threatens Future Environmental Achievement

Members of the House Committee on Resources Defend Record

Washington, DC - The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released its annual "scorecard" today, evaluating what it considers to be the most critical environmental votes of 2003. While the LCV defends the objectivity of its scorecard, such a claim from an organization that relishes itself as the "political voice" of the environmental movement has long been questioned. Predictably, all but one of the 28 Republicans on the Resources Committee received 'failing' grades from LCV.

Publicly-available Federal Election Commission and IRS records for the League of Conservation Voters show that the organization is indeed political, but fail to reflect how it has contributed to any tangible environmental achievements whatsoever. In the last three election cycles, the LCV spent an astounding $3,399,133 on independent expenditure campaigns and negative advertising to defeat Republicans. During the same time period, the LCV gave more than $200,000 in direct contributions to Democrat campaigns, trickling a small sum to Republicans for "objective" window-dressing.

The credibility of LCV has also been called into question more recently over its endorsement of Democrat presidential candidate, John Kerry. The nomination appeared suspect to some, as Teresa's Heinz Kerry's various foundations have contributed nearly $3 million in recent years to both the LCV and the environmental groups whose executives serve on the LCV board.

"Participation in the political process is something that should be encouraged and increased in the United States," Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) said. "But blatant partisanship and misrepresentation of policy under a banner of objectivity is counterproductive at best. The LCV headlines would have Americans believe that Congress is voting to blacken the sky and decimate American lands when the data trend-lines show that our environment is cleaner than it has been in thirty years. This blurring of the true state of our environment now is the biggest threat to continued environmental success for the future."

Congresswoman Barbara Cubin (R-WY):

"I wish the LCV spent half as much on actually protecting the environment as they do on fundraising and negative advertising. Every time the LCV attempts to lock away our public lands the people of Wyoming suffer. I'd know I was doing something wrong if I did any better than a five percent in their eyes."

Congressman George Radanovich (R-CA):

"Considering the policies they support, there's no problem in receiving a failing grade from a radical environmentalist fundraising organization like the LCV. Their opposition to a sensible national energy policy and forest management policy is reprehensible. While the LCV stood by opposing the Healthy Forests Act, California burned. And while they continue to oppose an energy bill, thousands of jobs are lost and energy costs soar."

Congressman Jim Gibbons (R-NV):

"I have been elected to Congress to represent the views and concerns of the people of the Second Congressional District of Nevada-not some left-wing, special interest group that pontificates environmental protection but stymies every responsible piece of legislation seeking to achieve that goal. As Vice-Chairman of the House Resources Committee, I am proud of the work we have done under Chairman Pombo's leadership to save our forests from catastrophic wildfires, increase wetlands funding, and promote clean, alternative energy-all achievements made in spite of the League of Conservation Voters' dangerous do-nothing attitude. Neither our environment nor our nation is served by a radical environmental group that spends almost 100% of its money on contributions to Democrat campaigns instead of funding real solutions to protecting our environment, critical habitats, and wildlife."

Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA):

"Over the past two years the Resources Committee has passed important legislation for our lands, our forests and our oceans. If making progress on protecting the environment, such as passing The Healthy Forests Act, means receiving a failing grade from the League of Conservation Voters than I happily accept the F."

Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT):

"In a modern twist on an old saying, 'put your money where your mouth is,' the League of Conservation Voters is engaging in their annual 'putting their mouth where their money is' - with Democrats in Congress. Their scorecard is only a public recognition of propaganda that seems to be designed to benefit one political party and attack another. In light of the positions that this organization usually takes which are harmful to the citizens of Utah, I am sorry my score was even as high as 5%. I may try to lower that in the future."

The Real Resources Story

Energy - Energy is the lifeblood of the economy and American quality of life. That is why the comprehensive energy bill passed by the House in 2003 was written to modernize regulation to reflect today's technology, stimulate investment, and create roughly one million new jobs in the U.S. The bill takes a sensible approach to balancing traditional sources of energy with a great percentage of the bill going to renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass and clean coal. Nonetheless, LCV would have America believe the bill's environmentally destructive. To learn more about energy development and environmental safety, click here or visit the Energy Information Issues page.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) - Despite popular misconceptions, energy production and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive. American ingenuity and technology can be deployed now to develop ANWR with great environmental safety. To learn more, read Chairman Richard W. Pombo's editorial on ANWR or read the Clinton Administration report on Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Technology.

Forest Fire Policy - The Healthy Forests Restoration Act signed into law this last year by President Bush was the strongest environmental protection bill signed into law since the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. By preventing catastrophic wildfire, this bill will protect both air and water quality from the polluting effects of wildfire. It will also protect endangered species and millions of acres of their habitat. To learn more, click here or visit the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health website.

Snowmobiles in America's National Parks - President Roosevelt's original intent for the parks is prominently positioned on the arch that stretches over the North entrance to Yellowstone: 'This Park was created and is now administered for the benefit and enjoyment of the people...it is the property of Uncle Sam and therefore of us all.

Science and common sense should always be used in determining environmental policies. The Bush Administration's rule was exactly that, requiring the "best available technology" and daily limits on the number of snowmobiles permitted. The LCV would rather have Americans experience Yellowstone while looking through a plate glass window. For more information on balancing preservation and access, visit the Subcommittee on National Parks website or read the current news from the Resources Committee.

Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) - The government told refiners to put MTBE in gasoline to make the air cleaner. Later, we found out that it made the air cleaner, but made water smell and taste bad when it leaked from gasoline tanks. Chairman Pombo introduced the first bill ever to ban MTBE when he came to Congress. But, instead of focusing on fixing leaking tanks and cleaning up MTBE, the LCV and other groups are playing politics. Instead of helping Americans to make sure their water is cleaned up, they're helping trial lawyers make sure they can continue to "clean up" by filing frivolous lawsuits. Where was LCV in 1993 when Chairman Pombo was trying to ban MTBE?

What the Resources Committee Passed and LCV Neglected to Mention...

North American Wetlands Conservation Fund - The strong support for $49.5 million for this fund is FY'04. This was $12 million more than was actually appropriated for the current fiscal year. It is responsible for conserving, restoring and enhancing more than 13 million acres of wetlands, vital to the survival of millions of waterfowl, in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Its success has leveraged million of dollars in private donations as well.

Multinational Species Conservation Fund - The Chairman of the House Committee on Resources strongly supported additional funding for the conservation of African elephants and highly endangered Asian elephants, rhinoceros, tigers and Great Apes.

The Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2003(P.L. 108-16) - Nutria are large semi-aquatic rodents introduced in the 1930's that have destroyed more than 7,000 acres of wetlands in Maryland and has damaged or destroyed over 100,000 wetlands in Louisiana. This law control nutria in Louisiana and eliminate them in Maryland saving thousands of acres of wetlands.

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Complex Expansion and Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Expansion Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-23) - This law expanded the boundaries of two existing wildlife refuges in Michigan and Ohio, protecting many species of fish and birds in the Western Basin of Lake Erie.

Captive Wildlife Safety Act (P.L. 108-191) - This law makes it illegal to import, export or sell in interstate or foreign commerce "prohibited wildlife species" such as lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars and cougars. It protects the health and well being of exotic animals.

Upper Mississippi River Basin Protection Act - This bill promotes the scientific basis for the management of sediment and nutrient loss in the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

To view the LCV Scorecard, click here