Keeping Score: The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Grades the Lawmakers

The new month of July has dawned with the annual Conservation Scorecard from the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters at the top of my InBox. It’s always an interesting resource, and to me it seems well worth the price of a membership with WLCV.

This one was particularly nice to get since it identifies some bi-partisan co-operation on important conservation issues and some hope for Wisconsin’s tradition of strong protections for natural resources. And it gives the credit for that renewed bi-partisan spirit not to the politicians in our state legislature, but to the thousands of engaged Wisconsinites who kept the pressure on their state lawmakers to do the right thing for clean air and water.

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Keep Wisconsin Beautiful: At Necedah NWR (A Badger & Whooping Crane photo).

 

“We were happy to see glimmers of Wisconsin’s nonpartisan conservation legacy this session” said Ann Sayers, the Program Director WLCV, noting that more than anything, this year’s Scorecard “tells the story of the power of individuals to successfully protect their air, land, and water. It’s their efforts that prevented the terrible groundwater bill and both frac sand mining bills from ever seeing the light of day.”

[The groundwater bill referred to, SB302, would have prevented the DNR from considering the cumulative impacts of high capacity wells throughout the state; the frac sand mining bills were attempts to prevent, or limit, local authorities from having any say in regulating sand mining in their communities.]

Sayers went on to say that on the biggest defensive measures – efforts to stop bills that were deemed harmful to natural resources – the conservation interests prevailed 75% of the time. The place where natural resources took a real hit, Sayers said, was the Open-pit Mining Bill “which exempted iron mines from having to meet most environmental laws. it passed despite the historic outpouring of citizen opposition.”

Keep Wisconsin Beautiful (A Flickr photo "Willow River Falls," by zman z28.)

Keep Wisconsin Beautiful (A Flickr photo “Willow River Falls,” by zman z28.)

 

The Conservation Scorecard 2013-2014 lists the way our elected state reps and senators voted on six bills, and assigns them a score for these votes and also a “lifetime score.” It includes A Conservation Honor Roll and a DIShonor Roll.

The Scorecard also offers an explanation of each bill, as well as an analysis of the legislative session, an enlightening Case Study (“What One Week and a Lot of Conservationists Can Do”), an analysis of the Good News and Bad News for conservation to be found in the State Budget, and tips for communicating with your legislator.

If you click on this link for the Conservation Scorecard 2013-2014, you will get the 16-page booklet as a pdf-file. If you join the WLCV, a hard copy will come in your mail. As the WLCV says: “Before you vote, know the score!”

 

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