Valley legislators test poorly on conservation

Analysis by Chris Graham

Even grading on a curve, Shenandoah Valley legislators didn’t score well on the Virginia League of Conservation Voters annual Legislative Conservation Scorecard released yesterday.

The scorecard, based on a series of votes on conservation issues in the 2008 Virginia General Assembly session tracked by the League, rated each of the six Republican state lawmakers representing districts in the Central Shenandoah Valley as being below average.

Del. Steve Landes, R-25th, and Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-26th, led the way among the Valley contingent with percentage-support scores of 56 percent. The average percentage-support score for all House members was 73 percent in the ’08 session. The average percentage-support score for Senate members in the ’08 session was 68 percent.

Del. Chris Saxman, R-20th, scored an even 50 percent on the scorecard. Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-24th, was at 44 percent, with Del. Matt Lohr, R-26th, at 43 percent, and Del. Ben Cline, R-24th, at 25 percent.

Among lawmakers who are candidates for party nominations to run for statewide office, Del. Steve Shannon, who is running for the ’09 Democratic Party attorney-general nomination, and Del. Brian Moran, who is running for the ’09 Dem gubernatorial nomination, each scored perfect 100 percent ratings, while Moran’s rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Sen. Creigh Deeds, was at 89 percent, and Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for the ’09 GOP attorney-general nomination, was at 50 percent.


Inside the numbers

The scores measured committee and floor votes on a wide range of important conservation issues, including the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions (SB 233; SB 234), steps toward mining uranium (SB 525), replacement of the proffer system (SB 768), and bipartisan redistricting (SB 38). Extra credit was also issued to legislators who patroned conservation-friendly bills that VALCV supported. (The 2008 Scorecard had already gone to print when the Special Session ended on July 10. Votes on HB 6006 calling for offshore drilling revenues for transportation will be considered for the 2009 Scorecard.)

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