Valley’s state legislators earn high marks for environmental voting | AspenTimes.com

Valley’s state legislators earn high marks for environmental voting

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Two state legislators whose districts include the Roaring Fork Valley both received a perfect score in voting on bills during the 2010 session that promoted conservation efforts, according to the Colorado Conservation Voters annual legislative scorecard released last week.

District 5 state Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, and District 61 Rep. Kathleen Curry, an independent House member from Gunnison, earned a score of 100 percent when it came to what the CCV referred to as “pro-environment” voting on a variety of bills this session.

Schwartz has a career score of 100 percent in her conservation voting in this and past sessions, while Curry has scored 96 percent during her three terms, according to the organization.

Among the 13 bills included in the scorecard were ones related to water efficiency, preservation of agricultural lands, renewable energy financing, green jobs training, wildlife protections and increased accountability for polluters.

“Legislators passed 34 bills that make Colorado a leader not only in the West but nationally on conservation issues,” Pete Maysmith, executive director of CCV, said in a press release. “These and other precedent-setting bills not only protect Colorado’s environment but will boost the state’s economy by helping to create jobs and ensure the environmental splendor so important to our tourist economy will be protected.”

Highlighted bills included those that:

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• Promote water smart homes and water efficiency;

• Preserve agricultural areas and ensure taxpayer dollars are being used wisely;

• Increase Colorado’s renewable energy standard (the amount of energy that comes from renewable sources) from 20 percent to 30 percent by 2020;

• Promote green job training;

• Allow the creation of solar gardens;

• Require that companies processing uranium clean up current sites before expanding operations;

• Create clean energy jobs; and,

• Create wildlife crossing zones on highways.

More than half of the Legislature’s 100 members received 100 percent ratings on the bills scored by CCV. No legislator received a zero score.

Two legislators whose districts include the western portions of Garfield County earned lower marks from the environmental organization.

District 8 Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, earned a score of 54 percent, and has a lifetime voting score on conservation issues of 64 percent, according to the organization.

District 57 Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, scored 33 percent on environmental voting in this year’s session, with a 32 percent career score.

“This Legislature demonstrated leadership that puts Colorado at the forefront nationally in conservation,” Maysmith said. “The real winners are Colorado families and the economy. By expanding clean energy opportunities, promoting water efficiency, and requiring corporate interests to be accountable for cleaning up their messes, state legislators will help rejuvenate Colorado’s economy, put Coloradans back to work, and protect Colorado taxpayers.”

The scorecard can be found online at http://www.coloradoconservationvoters.org/data/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/2010-CCV-Scorecard.pdf.

jstroud@postindependent.com

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