2014

NRDC Action Fund Identifies 193 House Members, 39 Senators as 'Dirty Air Villains' Who Voted Against Clean Air Protections

Link Between Dirty Air Votes and Contributions From Polluters Revealed; Numerous Villains and Clean Air Heroes in Battleground States CO, FL, IL, IA, MI, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA and WI

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A total of 193 House members and 39 Senators are rated as "Dirty Air Villains" in a new analysis by the NRDC Action Fund published today on the website www.WhoVotesDirty.org and released with Environment America.  In the House, 99 members are rated as "Clean Air Heroes" while in the Senate the 43 "Clean Air Heroes" outnumber the chamber's villains.

The NRDC Action Fund analysis also found that on average, House members who took more than $100,000 in career polluter campaign contributions voted against clean air laws nearly twice as many times as those who accepted less than $100,000 from dirty industries. In the Senate, members taking more than $500,000 in career polluter campaign contributions voted against clean air laws three times as often as those taking less, on average. Contributions data was obtained from OpenSecrets in August, 2012.  

The analysis also finds that a large number of the House and Senate "villains" – 48 in the House and 25 in the Senate - represent citizens living in towns and cities rated by the American Lung Association (ALA) as ranking among the 25 most polluted metro areas in America for air pollution.

Heather Taylor, director of the NRDC Action Fund, said: "Our analysis reveals the full extent of Big Polluters' reach into Congress, where some members, especially in the Tea party-influenced House, do not miss a single opportunity to side with the dirty industry, leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves. Our data will help people send a strong message to office-seekers: We want representatives in Congress who put the public first, not polluters. Before going to the polls on Nov. 6, every concerned citizen should get the facts at www.WhoVotesDirty.org. ''

Nathan Willcox, global warming program director for Environment America, said: "Americans count on their elected officials to help protect them and their children's health from dangerous air pollution, but this analysis shows that far too many members of Congress are neglecting that responsibility in favor of doing the polluters' bidding.  These Dirty Air Villains should be held accountable for their votes against our health, and we urge citizens to check out this analysis to see if they're being represented by a Dirty Air Villain or a Clean Air Hero."

What makes a "Dirty Air Villain"?  The analysis is based on 13 major clean air votes in the House and four in the Senate. Members who voted against clean air at every opportunity are designated "Dirty Air Villains". Clean Air Heroes voted for clean air at every opportunity. Speaker of the House John Boehner is counted as a Dirty Air Villain for scheduling the House votes, although he didn't cast votes on the bills.

All 193 Dirty Air Villains in the House are Republican. In the Senate, 37 Republicans and two Democrats voted down the line against clean air. All 99 Clean Air Heroes in the House are Democrats, while in the Senate, 41 of the Heroes are Democrats and 2 are Independents.

Other key findings:

  • Top battleground states this election have a mix of Villains and Heroes:
    • Colorado: Four members of Colorado's delegation are Dirty Air Villains: Reps Scott Tipton (R-CO3), Doug Lamborn (R-CO5), Cory Gardner (R-CO4) and Michael Coffman (R-CO6). Three members are Clean Air Heroes: Senators Mark Udall (D-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO1).
    • Florida: Florida is represented by fifteen Dirty Air Villains: Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Reps. Sandra Adams (R-FL24), Vern Buchanan (R-FL13), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL4), John Mica (R-FL7), Richard Nugent (R-FL5), Bill Posey (R-FL15), David Rivera (R-FL25), Tom Rooney (R-FL16), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL18), Dennis Ross (R-FL12), Steve Southerland (R-FL2), Cliff Stearns (R-FL6), Daniel Webster (R-FL8) and Allen West (R-FL22). Florida has four Clean Air Heroes: Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Reps. Theodore Deutch (D-FL19), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL20), and Alcee Hastings (D-FL23).
    • Illinois: Illinois' delegation includes seven Dirty Air Villains: Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL6), Joe Walsh (R-IL8) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL11) (each of whose districts overlap with the 18th dirtiest MSA in the US for soot pollution) and Randall Hultgren (R-IL14), Donald Manzullo (R-IL16), Robert Schilling (R-IL17) and John Shimkus (R-IL19). Illinois also has five Clean Air Heroes: Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL4), Michael Quigley D-(IL5), Bobby Rush (D-IL1) and Janice Schakowsky (D-IL9).
    • Iowa: Iowa has three Dirty Air Villains, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Reps. Tom Latham (R-IA4) and Steve King (R-IA5). The state has one Clean Air Hero, Senator Harkin (D-IA).
    • Michigan: Michigan has eight Dirty Air Villains: Reps. Dan Benishek (R-MI1), Bill Huizenga (R-MI2), Justin Amash (R-MI3), Fred Upton (R-MI6), Tim Walberg (R-MI7), Mike Rogers (R-MI8), Candice Miller (R-MI10) and Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI11). The state has five Clean Air Heroes: Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Reps. Hansen Clarke (D-MI13), John Conyers (D-MI14), Dale Kildee (MI-5) and Sander Levin (D-MI12).
    • Nevada: Nevada has one Dirty Air Villain, Rep. Joseph Heck (R-NV3), and one Clean Air Hero, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
    • New Hampshire: New Hampshire has one Dirty Air Villain, Rep. Frank Guinta (NH-1), and one Clean Air Hero, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
    • New Mexico: New Mexico has one Dirty Air Villain, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM2). New Mexico has three Clean Air Heroes, Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), and Rep. Ben Lujan (D-NM3).
    • North Carolina: North Carolina's four Dirty Air Villains are Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-NC2), Virginia Foxx (R-NC5) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC10). North Carolina's four Clean Air Heroes are Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Reps. Brad Miller (D-NC13), David Price (D-NC4) and Melvin Watt (D-NC12).
    • Ohio: Ohio's fourteen Dirty Air Villains include Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH8) and Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH1) (whose district includes the Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, OH-KY-IN MSA which ranks 21st in the nation for Ozone pollution and eighth for year-round particulate pollution), Jean Schmidt (R-OH2) (whose district includes the Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, OH-KY-IN MSA which ranks 21st worst for Ozone pollution and 8th for year-round particulate pollution), Michael Turner (R-OH3), Jim Jordan (R-OH4), Robert Latta (R-OH5), Bill Johnson (R-OH6), Steve Austria (R-OH7), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH12), Steven LaTourette (R-OH14) and Jim Renacci (R-OH16) (both of whose districts overlap part of the Cleveland-Akron, OH MSA which is the nation's 14th most polluted for year round soot), Steve Stivers (R-OH15) and Bob Gibbs (R-OH18.) Ohio's three Clean Air Heroes include Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Reps. Betty Sutton (D-OH13) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH10).
    • Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania's eleven Dirty Air Villains are Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA) and Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA3), Glenn Thompson (R-PA5), Patrick Meehan (R-PA7) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA16) (whose districts include the Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA which is ranked 16th worst for ozone pollution and 10th worst for year-round particulate pollution and #22 for Short-term particulate pollution), Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA8), William Shuster (R-PA9), Thomas Marino (R-PA10), Lou Barletta (R-PA11), Charles Dent (R-PA15) and Timothy Murphy (R-PA18)(whose district includes the  Pittsburgh-New Castle, PA MSA which is ranked 20th for ozone pollution and 6th for Year-round particulate pollution and #6 for Short-term particulate pollution). Pennsylvania's four Clean Air Heroes are Robert Brady (D-PA1), Mike Doyle (D-PA14), Chaka Fattah (D-PA2) and Allyson Schwartz (D-PA13).
    • Virginia: Virginia's six Dirty Air Villains are Reps. Scott Rigell (R-VA2), Randy Forbes (R-VA4), Robert Hurt (R-VA5), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA6), House Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA7) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA9). Virginia's three Clean Air Heroes are Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA11), James Moran (D-VA8) and Robert Scott (D-VA3).
    • Wisconsin: Wisconsin's five Dirty Air Villains are Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI1), James Sensenbrenner (R-WI5), Sean Duffy (R-WI7) and Reid Ribble (R-WI8). Wisconsin's Clean Air Hero is Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI2).

ABOUT THE NRDC ACTION FUND. The NRDC Action Fund's mission is to achieve the passage of legislation that jump-starts the clean energy economy, reduces pollution, and sustains vibrant communities for all Americans. Now is the time for leadership and action from our elected officials — our current goal is a comprehensive clean energy policy that will repower our economy and fuel our future. http://www.nrdcactionfund.org.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENT AMERICAEnvironment America is a federation of 29 state-based, citizen funded environmental advocacy organizations working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. 

EDITOR'S  NOTE:  A streaming audio replay of this news event will be available as of 4 p.m. EDT on September 12, 2012 at http://www.WhoVotesDirty.org.

The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, the NRDC Action Fund engages in various advocacy and political activities for which the Natural Resources Defense Council, a 501(c)(3) organization, faces certain legal limitations or restrictions. News and information released by the NRDC Action Fund therefore needs to be identified as from the NRDC Action Fund.  Use of the label "Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund" is incorrect; the only correct title is the "NRDC Action Fund." In other words, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the NRDC Action Fund cannot be used interchangeably.  Also, please note that the word "National" does not appear in Natural Resources Defense Council.          

SOURCE NRDC Action Fund and Environment America, both in Washington, D.C.




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