Scorecard Used to Hold Representatives Accountable for Environmental Action
Major Legislative Gains Made in Environmental Policy; Historic Investment in Clean Energy and Jobs on the Ballot
(September 20, 2022) Albany, N.Y. – The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) marks Climate Week with the release of its 2022 State Environmental Scorecard, their annual evaluation of State Legislators based on their support–or lack of support–for environmental legislation. Voters have come to rely on the scorecard as an easy-to-understand ledger on state environmental policies and an effective tool for them to hold their representatives accountable.
“As 2022 brought dramatic developments in the environment–from devastating heat waves and wildfires to ravaging droughts and floods–New York’s elected officials took action to clean up our air, protect our water, and fight climate change. And with the historic Environmental Bond Act on the ballot this November, New York stands poised to supercharge our transition to a clean energy economy,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “The NYLCV applauds our elected officials for making progress, but there is much more to be done. We must take action to reduce emissions by establishing a clean fuel standard so that it’s the fossil fuel industry–and not the taxpayers–on the hook for cleaning up the environment. We must also address building emissions, cut waste by adopting more extended producer responsibility laws, and boost the market for Electric Vehicles by authorizing direct-to-consumer sales. We look forward to advocating for these and other smart environmental policies in 2023.”
Highlights from this year’s scorecard include:
- 16 State Senators and 32 Assemblymembers earned a perfect score of 100%
- An additional 24 State Senators and 67 Assemblymembers received an 80% or higher
- The average score for State Senators was highest in Westchester and lowest in the North Country
- The average score for Assemblymembers was highest in Manhattan and lowest in the North Country
This year’s scorecard examined 17 bills in the Senate and 16 bills in the Assembly that were of significant importance to the environment and conservation efforts in New York State, addressing everything from clean water and clean energy to public health and environmental justice.
Both houses passed longstanding NYLCV priorities, including the much-needed authorization to modernize the state’s energy code and appliance standards so they align with current-day environmental goals, as well as the requirement that certain large parking lots and garages support electric vehicle charging stations. Other important environmental measures that were passed include the creation of a district-level geothermal heating and cooling pilot program, the expansion of New York City’s speed camera program, mandating the purchase or lease of electric passenger vehicles for use in the state fleet, and the protection of Class C streams, which are key to protecting communities against flooding.
While not scored by the NYLCV, some of this year’s most significant environmental wins were achieved by way of the state budget, with the largest potential impact coming from the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, which, if passed in November, will mark the largest single investment New York has ever made in the environment. Other budget policy wins for the environment include the largest expansion of wetlands protection in a generation, and the requirement that all school buses be zero emission by 2035, a policy long championed by the NYLCV.
The scorecard is available here.
Rising Stars–Senator Anna Kaplan and Assemblymember Kenny Burgos:
Senator Kaplan, first elected in 2018, earned an average score of 97% across the 2021-2022 legislative session as she fought hard to reduce transportation emissions, an important public health concern in her Long Island District. Assemblymember Burgos demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment during the 2021- 2022 legislative session, his first in elected office, earning a perfect score from the NYLCV.
Environmental Champions–Senator Pete Harckham and Assemblymember Patricia Fahy:
Senator Harckham, who received a perfect score from the NYLCV, was the prime sponsor of numerous environmental bills in 2022 as he fought hard to ensure the protection of smaller wetlands and Class C streams, all while earning a reputation for getting complicated legislation over the finish line. Assemblymember Fahy–who has long been a champion of NYLCV-priority bills–successfully passed four scorecard bills, earning a perfect score from the NYLCV.
On the occasion of his retirement from the State Senate, the NYLCV offered a special thank you to Senator Todd Kaminsky for his service as chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, citing his fierce advocacy for the environment and his successful efforts to break through the logjam on several NYLCV priority issues, including sustainable waste management and protecting children from toxic chemicals, among others.
Perfect Scores of 100:
Khaleel M. Anderson
Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn
Nader J. Sayegh
Rebecca A. Seawright
Jo Anne Simon
About the State Legislative Environmental Scorecard
This is the fifth annual State Legislative Environmental Scorecard published by the NYLCV. The scorecard is used when making decisions about which candidates NYLCV will support and endorse.
Bills that came to the floor were scored on whether or not a member voted for them. The bills that did not come to the floor were scored on whether or not a member is a co-sponsor.
About the New York League of Conservation Voters
The New York League of Conservation Voters is the only non-partisan, statewide environmental organization in New York that takes a pragmatic approach to fight for clean water, healthy air, renewable energy, and open space. For thirty years, NYLCV has worked to lobby state and local governments on environmental policy, provide objective information to the public, and hold elected officials accountable. For more information, visit www.nylcv.org.