Texas Delegation Ranks Near Bottom of Environmental Scorecard

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By Mark Richardson – Texas News Service

AUSTIN  – The Texas congressional delegation ranks near the bottom of the new annual scorecard of the League of Conservation Voters. In fact, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both R-Texas, scored “zero” for their votes on key environmental issues, and the state’s 36 House members only voted what the League considers “pro-environment” 24 percent of the time. Elizabeth Doyel, who heads the Texas League of Conservation Voters, said the delegation’s GOP members almost unanimously opposed environmental issues in favor of Big Oil.

“I think that it’s 90 percent ideological, and I think the other 10 percent is that they’re looking at their donors,” she said. “Here in Texas, we do have a lot of funders that are within the energy community.”

Texas has 25 Republicans and 11 Democrats in the House, and 18 of the GOP members were rated at zero percent. Doyel said the few environmental advocates with near 100-percent rankings from Texas all are Democrats – including Joaquin Castro from San Antonio, Eddie Bernice Johnson from Dallas and Beto O’Rourke from El Paso.

Doyel said the major environmental issues in the 114th session of Congress included water resources, climate change, carbon limits and clean energy – and Texas Republicans almost unanimously voted against them. She said they even voted against protecting the Texas prairie chicken.

“One of the bills that national scored on was prairie chickens and protection, and the Republicans voted against protecting the prairie chicken, which is up in the Panhandle,” she said. “Like, seriously, you’re against protecting the prairie chicken?”

Doyel, who became the Texas League’s director in September, says she believes conservation is a Texas value. She said she plans to spend the next few years meeting with Republican officeholders to try to convince them to improve their conservation voting records.

The scorecard is online at scorecard.lcv.org.