Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SIERRA CLUB CALIFORNIA’S 2009 REPORT CARD REVEALS BACKSLIDING BY GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE

Sierra Club California today published its 2009 Legislative Report Card, exposing a significant deterioration in the performance of Governor Schwarzenegger and the Legislature. "Billionaire developers and fossil-fuel polluters cynically manipulated California’s economic distress to weaken protections for our air, water, and wild places, and our elected officials too often went along," commented Bill Magavern, Director of Sierra Club California.

The report card grades legislators on their votes on 15 bills, chosen for their importance to Sierra Club California. Only five legislators – Senators Corbett, Hancock and Wiggins and Assemblymembers Monning and Skinner -- voted the pro-environment position on all 15, way down from the 42 legislators who scored perfect records last year. 13 of those 15 bills reached Schwarzenegger’s desk, and he sided with the pro-environment position on only two of those.

"Most Californians know that greening our economy with clean energy, safe products and resource preservation will bring us sustainable jobs," Magavern said. "Unfortunately, too many of our politicians are listening more to the money that talks in the Capitol. Weakening environmental safeguards promotes short term profits without stimulating real economic recovery. These rollbacks threaten the health of our children and grandchildren as well as the natural legacy our predecessors handed to us in trust for future generations."

Legislation that would have greened our energy system, preserved our parks and coast, cleaned the air and water, and removed toxins from products either fell short of the needed votes in the legislature or suffered vetoes from Governor Schwarzenegger. Utilities, oil, logging and chemical companies, and big developers poured millions of dollars into lobbying, advertising and campaign contributions in their efforts to thwart Californians’ desire for stronger safeguards for our wildlands, atmosphere and watersheds.

Environmental groups were forced into a defensive posture several times, as these same special interests exploited their inside influence to bypass the normal, public legislative process and jam through measures to carve loopholes in key laws like the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In addition, the water "reform" package passed in the middle of the night included a mix of half measures and a bloated $11.1 billion water bond for the November 2010 ballot that will do little to solve the problems of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The entire report card and Sierra Club California’s latest CAPITOL VOICE newsletter can be found at http://www.sierraclubcalifornia.org

1 comment:

Bill Haller said...

My assembly district, AD40 used to enjoy a 100% Sierra Club voting record. Same thing for my senate district, SD20. It's extremely disappointing to me that instead of keeping a close eye on corporate polluters, I now have to split my attention between the bad guys and my elected representatives. This was a very poor Christmas gift indeed from Messrs. Blumenfield and Padilla -- kind of like coal in my stocking.