McKeon and D-27 team takes top spot in environmental ranking

McKeon and D-27 team takes top spot in environmental ranking

“From protecting drinking water and clean air so folks don’t get sick, to stopping dirty energy and promoting clean renewables to combat the climate crisis and green the economy, no one is stronger on the environment in the Legislature than John McKeon and Mila Jasey,” David Pringle, Clean Water Action’s N.J. campaign director, said in a press release. “They’re the legislative green dream team — concerned, dedicated and effective. We would all be better off if their colleagues were more like them.”

 

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The 27th Legislative District team is the leading environmental district team in New Jersey, according to a report from Clean Water Action, a nonprofit group that advocates protecting the environment and supports grassroots environmental campaigns. Assemblyman John McKeon ranked first in the N.J. Assembly, beating all other assembly members, and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey ranked fifth. State Sen. Richard Codey came in 10th in the state Senate ranking.

According to Clean Water Action, this year’s scorecard “represents a permanent record that scores every New Jersey state legislator on votes, action and leadership on significant environmental bills in 2014 and 2015.”

In the 2014-2015 environmental scorecard, legislators were scored based on their votes regarding legislation with an environmental impact. Legislators could also receive extra credit and/or demerits for pro-environmental or anti-environmental leadership.

Combined, the 27th Legislative District team, which is composed entirely of Democrats, received a score of 85 percent, which is 4-percent higher than the runner-up, the 15th Legislative District, at 81 percent.

McKeon received a score of 92 percent, a decrease from his combined score of 102 percent in 2010-2013, and Jasey a score of 86 percent, a decrease from her combined score of 92 percent in the previous three years. Codey received a score of 77 percent, an increase from his combined score of 65 percent in 2010-2013.

Each of the 14 legislators who scored higher than 80 percent were named “Environmental Heroes,” by Clean Water Action.
Clean Water Action has been ranking N.J. legislators annually since 2010, and each year McKeon has taken the No. 1 spot, while Jasey has always been in the top five. Similarly, the 27th Legislative District has been ranked first each year as well.

“From protecting drinking water and clean air so folks don’t get sick, to stopping dirty energy and promoting clean renewables to combat the climate crisis and green the economy, no one is stronger on the environment in the Legislature than John McKeon and Mila Jasey,” David Pringle, Clean Water Action’s N.J. campaign director, said in a press release. “They’re the legislative green dream team — concerned, dedicated and effective. We would all be better off if their colleagues were more like them.”

McKeon feels honored to be named an “Environmental Hero” by Clean Water Action, but feels that more still needs to be done.

“It’s humbling to be recognized for championing protections for drinking water and against flooding,” McKeon said in the release. “Environmental protection should be a no-brainer but Clean Water Action’s scorecard shows too often it is not and we have a lot of work to do. I’m as committed as ever to ensuring clean energy, green jobs and a healthy climate instead of a dirty economy with more fossil fuel infrastructure like the Pilgrim Oil Pipeline.

“Whether it’s efforts by Gov. Christie to weaken our clean air and water resources and programs, build the Pilgrim Pipeline or cut backroom deals with Exxon to let polluters off the hook, nothing with the potential to compromise our natural resources and the people they benefit ought to even receive consideration in our state,” McKeon continued. “I am firmly committed to protecting our air, water and natural resources in the Legislature.”

Jasey also reaffirmed her commitment to continuing to support environmental initiatives.
“I am honored to be named a ‘hero’ by Clean Water Action, but the real heroes are our state’s environmental leaders,” Jasey said in the release. “They work tirelessly every day to protect our water supply, and other natural resources, promote acquisition of open space and fight for renewable, sustainable energy sources. I have been privileged to work with Clean Water Action and other over the years to protect the Highlands, which supplies two-thirds of our state’s drinking water, and stop misguided projects like the Pilgrim Pipeline.

“It is my goal to make sure our children have safe places to play and a safe, clean environment as our enduring legacy to them and their children,” Jasey continued. “Together, Assemblyman McKeon, Gov. Codey and I stand in solidarity with the residents of New Jersey in putting up a fight for environmental protection today, not waiting for environmental damage tomorrow.”

Overall, Clean Water Action found that Democrats scored higher as working to save the environment than their Republican cohorts; however, the Democrats scored lower in 2014-2015 than in previous years. According to the report, the Democrats scored 54 percent in 2014-2015, having gone down 5 percent from the combined 2010-2013 scores. Though still lagging far behind the Democrats, the Republicans scored 35 percent, having gone up 3 percent from the previous three years. Both parties together scored at 47 percent this past year, having gone down by 1 percent from the previous three years combined.

In the Assembly, while McKeon leads the pack with 92 percent, the highest Republican score was Holly Schepisi’s 57 percent. In the Senate, Democrat Loretta Weinberg and Republican Christopher Bateman tied the top with 103 percent, although the second highest Democrat scored 99 percent while the second highest Republican scored 77 percent.

“This scorecard shows that New Jersey’s Legislature continues to fail at getting the job done. When it comes to protecting public health and the environment, New Jersey needs to reverse course immediately,” Clean Water Action’s N.J. state director Amy Goldsmith said in a second release. “Thankfully, there are heroes within the legislative ranks — 14 in all. But they alone cannot turn this alarming trend around. It would be wise for State House leadership and fellow colleagues to follow our environmental heroes’ direction.”

Clean Water Action also named nine legislators as “Environmental Zeroes”; these persons received scores of less than 20 percent.

“New Jersey is in a tough time and at a crossroads. A goal of this scorecard is to empower citizens. It gives the public the opportunity to look specifically at environmental legislative bills, and see exactly how well or how badly their elected representatives fared,” Janet Tauro, chairwoman of Clean Water Action’s N.J. board, said in a statement. “We know that legislators don’t always do the right thing for the environment.”