League of Conservation Voters Releases National Scorecard for New Jersey Delegation
Bipartisan support for the environment in New Jersey Delegation at an All Time Low
Trenton, New Jersey: The League of Conservation Voters has released the New Jersey delegation’s scores in the League of Conservation Voters’ 2021 National Environmental Scorecard highlighting how some members chose to champion the environment and protect our democracy, while others failed to do so. The Scorecard is the primary yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of members of Congress since 1970 and is available for download here, in Spanish here, and online at scorecard.lcv.org.
2021 was an unprecedented year. We endured heightened federal attacks on the foundation of our democracy and in New Jersey we continue to face the staggering costs of climate change, including 30 deaths from hurricane Ida, the losses from an ongoing global pandemic, and reckon with systemic racism. The 2021 National Environmental Scorecard had a historically high percentage of votes related to justice and democracy in both chambers, reflecting these intersecting challenges. Those critical democracy-related votes combined with the record number of diverse Biden nominees resulted in a record number of scored votes in the Senate.
“Congratulations to the overwhelming majority of the New Jersey delegation who scored 100% on the 2021 National Scorecard. They understand that New Jersey is facing an unprecedented crisis from climate change causing more frequent and intense inland and coastal flooding,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “However, we are disappointed that bipartisan support for the environment is beginning to erode in DC. The dichotomy between the support for the environment among democratic and republican members of Congress is starker than it’s ever been. Clean air, safe drinking water, and open spaces for recreation are not partisan issues. We need our delegation to work with the White House and their colleagues in Congress to pass President Biden’s climate agenda now.”
Pro-environment and pro-democracy leaders across both chambers and the White House undid much of the damage from the Trump administration and made progress in key areas. While the Build Back Better Act and vital democracy reforms passed the House, they remain stalled in the Senate by unanimous Republican opposition.
In the past 50 years, LCV has never felt it necessary to score the basic votes that uphold our country’s peaceful transfer of power and electoral outcomes. This year was different. With the unprecedented January 6th insurrection and so many attacks by Republican members of Congress on the fundamental tenets of our country’s governance, LCV scored these votes, in both chambers.
“While 2021 was an incredibly difficult year for our democracy and our climate, it was a sea change from the Trump presidency,” said LCV Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis. “Our pro-environment, pro-democracy trifecta made strides toward an equitable clean energy future in 2021. New Jersey has clear champions for our environment and democracy and others who are not delivering for their communities at a critical time. We see the last year as the foundation for accomplishing the transformational change we need in 2022. The Biden-Harris administration took bold steps towards tackling the interwoven climate and racial justice crises, the House passed the Build Back Better Act and democracy reforms, and now it’s up to the Senate to pass the transformational investments needed to combat the climate crisis and protect our democracy.”
The 2021 Scorecard includes 22 House votes, half of which were justice and democracy-related votes such as the vitally important voting rights bills. The 34 Senate votes include six justice and democracy votes. This reflects the need to safeguard the fundamentals of our governance from numerous federal judiciary and state and local policy attacks on our democracy and voting rights which primarily target people of color.
The following are the New Jersey delegation’s scores for 2021:
|Bonnie Watson Coleman||100%|
|Donald Payne Jr.||100%|
|Jeff Van Drew||39%|
“Senator Menendez and Booker and Representatives Coleman, Gottheimer, Kim, Malinowski, Norcross, Pallone, Pascrell, Payne, Sherrill, and Sires are members of the New Jersey delegation that stood up for New Jersey with scores of 100%,” added Potosnak. “Unfortunately two members of our delegation, Representatives Van Drew and Smith, received failing scores below 50%. That’s not the kind of leadership we need as we face the climate crisis.
LCV has published a National Environmental Scorecard every Congress since 1970. The Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from more than 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which members of Congress should be scored. LCV scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including energy, climate change, environmental justice, public health, public lands and wildlife conservation, democracy, and spending for environmental programs. The votes included in the Scorecard presented members of Congress with a real choice and helped distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection. More information on individual votes and the Scorecard archive can be found at scorecard.lcv.org.