06/19 - Conservationists grade lawmakers - East Valley Tribune: News

06/19 - Conservationists grade lawmakers

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Posted: Thursday, June 19, 2003 10:07 am | Updated: 1:09 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Arizona environmentalists are applauding Gov. Janet Napolitano for protecting a major conservation fund, but say state lawmakers overall have done little for green causes during the Legislature’s 2003 session.

The Arizona League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club on Wednesday issued their ratings on the environment-friendliness of legislators, giving more than two dozen poor to failing grades.

Those rated poor or failing include East Valley lawmakers Reps. Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale, John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, and Russell Pearce, Gary Pierce and Karen Johnson, all RMesa, and Sens. Marilyn Jarrett and Mark Anderson, both R-Mesa.

There was progress on an energy-efficiency program and attempts to stifle local land conservation efforts failed to win support, said Sierra Club spokeswoman Sandy Bahr.

But few conservation bills surfaced, reflecting general neglect of environmental issues, Bahr said.

Conservation causes dodged a bullet when Napolitano’s line-item veto of the Legislature’s 2004 budget package restored $8 million to the Heritage Fund, said Susan Culp, assistant director of the League of Conservation Voters.

Sen. Carolyn Allen, RScottsdale, who scored an "A’’ on the Sierra Club report card, said the Legislature avoided major environmental setbacks.

"Given the lack of understanding here of the environmental challenges we face, we came out with things pretty much intact,’’ she said.

Pierce said he considers it "an honor’’ to get an "F.’’

"It means I’m not an extremist," he said. "Those of us who scored an "F’’ are the balance against (extremists).’’

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