The Lead

Pa. Sen. Bob Casey scores 100 on enviro group’s report card; Toomey gets a 0

By: - March 12, 2020 3:51 pm

U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania (Capital-Star file)

Pennsylvania’s senior United States senator, Democrat Bob Casey, has nabbed a perfect score for his votes on environmental issues that came before Congress in 2019, while Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey got a goose-egg for his votes on those same issues.

The grades, awarded by the League of Conservation Voters, track lawmakers’ support across a broad range of subject areas, including energy, climate change, public health, public lands and wildlife conservation. The advocacy group has issued its annual report card since 1970.

“Time and again, it was encouraging to see the pro-environment majority in the House pass so many bills to protect the environment and public health, and it was extremely disappointing to see that progress languish in the Senate,” the report reads. “But, in stark contrast with the Republican leadership in the Senate, Democratic Leader [Charles E.] Schumer [of New York] encouraged his caucus to prioritize the climate crisis more than ever.”

Eight of Pennsylvania’s nine Republican House members were all basement-dwellers in the new scorecard, each scoring in the single digits. The only exception was U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District, who scored an 86 percent on the scorecard. Environmental issues figure high in Fitzpatrick’s Bucks County-based seat.

Eight of Pennsylvania’s nine Democratic House members scored 96 percent to 97 percent on the scorecard. U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, who hails from the 17th District in Pittsburgh’s steel country, scraped into A-range with a 90 percent score.

In the Senate, lawmakers were evaluated for their votes on 14 different issues last year, including votes to confirm federal appellate judges; their confirmation votes on now U.S. Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler; whether they voted to stop funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall, and their vote on the permanent reauthorization of the Land & Water Conservation Fund.

Toomey was listed as casting unfriendly votes on all those issues in the League’s scorecard. Casey cast friendly votes.

In the House, lawmakers were graded based on their votes on 29 different topics, including ratification of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement; a measure restoring drilling protections in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; bills governing clean air and water standards, as well as methane pollution safeguards and legislation establishing carbon pollution limits for power plants.

Fitzpatrick got dinged for two votes deemed unfriendly to the group’s interests; while Lamb got hit for one, reducing their overall grades, the scorecard showed.

The full House breakdown:

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District: 86 percent

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-2nd District: 97 percent

U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-3rd District: 97 percent

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District: 97 percent

U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5th District: 97 percent

U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th District: 97 percent

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th District: 97 percent

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-8th District: 96 percent

U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-9th District: 7 percent

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District: 3 percent

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District: 7 percent

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-12th District: 4 percent

U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District: 3 percent

U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th District: 7 percent

U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15th District: 7 percent

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th District: 7 percent

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-17th District: 90 percent

U.S. Mike Doyle, D-18th District: 97 percent

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.