The Sierra Club’s Missouri Chapter released its scorecard on the Missouri Legislature. While the report card contained no surprises, it was notable for just how hostile the Missouri Legislature was to conservation.
“The Missouri Legislature demonstrated quite clearly this session that it was no friend to conservation,” said John Hickey, Chapter Director for the Sierra Club’s Missouri Chapter. “From giving polluters more time to emit toxic mercury to gutting requirements for clean energy development here, a majority of legislators voted to weaken protections for Missouri’s environment.”
Coal-fired power plants are the largest mercury polluters in the country, contaminating our air and water and creating a public health crisis. Studies have shown that one in six women of childbearing age has enough mercury in her bloodstream to put her child at risk of the health effects of mercury exposure should she become pregnant. Waters across the state, including the Current and Eleven Point Rivers, have fish advisories due to unsafe levels of mercury. Nevertheless, a majority of House and Senate members voted in favor of HCR 49, which opposed the Environmental Protection Agency’s new limits on mercury pollution.
In November 2008 Missourians voted decisively to pass Proposition C, which committed the state to building a clean energy sector to provide electricity, create jobs, and clean the air. Nevertheless, both the House and Senate voted to pass SCR 1, which nullified that part of Proposition C that required renewable energy projects to be sited in our state, or to deliver power to our state. Missourians thereby lose both the clean air and the economic development benefits of the clean energy economy.
“The Legislature spent a lot of time passing bills that allow our state’s environment to be degraded, whether by mercury pollution, or by the proliferation of electronic billboards, or by lax enforcement of safeguards at the Ozark National Scenic Riverways ,” said Hickey. “The Legislature sent a clear message that it does not support a strong renewable-energy-based economy nor common sense programs to protect public health.”
Senators were graded using 7 votes, and House members were graded using 9 votes. This year, 13 House members and 26 senators received a 0% grade for voting wrong on all the measures tracked. On a positive note, eleven representatives earned a spot on the Honor Roll, which means they voted 100 percent pro-environment.
Two senators also scored a 100% and a spot on the Honor Roll.
The Sierra Club report card is at this link