Tester, Daines, Zinke far apart on environmental voting scorecard

Missoula Current

The League of Conservation Voters gave Sen. Steve Daines a score of 12 percent for his votes on public health and the environmental in 2016 – eight points better than Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who receive a score of 5 percent.

Sen. Jon Tester received a score of 88 percent for his 2016 voting record.

The results mark the 40th year that the League of Conservation Voters has released its National Environmental Scorecard, which has become the accepted yardstick for rating members of Congress on issues pertaining to the environment, public health and energy.

The tally was released this month by Montana Conservation Voters.

“There’s clearly a difference in priorities among Montana’s congressional delegation,” said Juanita Vero, board chair of MCV. “Tester knows our economy depends on protecting our clean air, water and public lands. Unfortunately, Daines and Zinke largely supported corporate polluters.”

The latest scorecard includes 17 votes in the Senate and 38 votes in the House.

Of the 17 votes in the Senate, Tester supported all but two. He opposed a bill requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate impacts on fish and wildlife, as well as a bill aimed at establishing energy efficiency standards.

In contrast, Daines voted against all but two measures. He supported the Army Corps bill opposed by Tester and supported an effort to divert money away from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, according to the roll call vote.

“While we appreciated a unified delegation in supporting the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Daines and Zinke put polluters’ agenda ahead of the health of Montanans, our streams and rivers, and climate action,” said Vero, who lives in Greenough.

In Montana, Tester scored 88 percent, Daines earned 12 percent and Zinke received a 5 percent rating. Despite Zinke’s voting record, Montana Conservation Voters believes he’ll serve as an advocate for protecting the nation’s public lands as Interior secretary.

On his first day as secretary, Zinke was quoted by Reuters as saying, “You can hear it from my lips: We will not sell or transfer public lands.”

“We hold cautious optimism that Zinke – with his support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and public opposition to the transfer or selloff of federal public lands – will serve as an advocate for the protection of America’s public lands as the next secretary of the Interior,” Vero said.