PA Capital-Star: Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation gets middling marks from conservationists

Originally posted in the Pennsylvania Capital-Star on February 28, 2019

When it comes to votes supporting the environment, Pennsylvania’s 18 U.S. representatives and its two senators were perfectly average, a new legislative report card has found.

The 2018 votes tracked by The League of Conservation Voters, an environmental advocacy group, included the loosening of rules for invasive species, national forests and clean energy as well as the approval of Environmental Protection Agency chief and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler.

Seven states, including Pennsylvania, had delegation ratings between 40-59 percent. Most are states that pundits see as potential battlegrounds in 2020, including Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin.

Just two members elected for the lame duck session by special election — Democratic U.S. Reps. Susan Wild, Lehigh County, and Mary Gay Scanlon, of Delaware County — had perfect scores.

Philadelphia Democratic Rep. Dwight Evans came in second with a 94 percent score. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey had a 93 percent, while U.S Reps. Mike Doyle of Allegheny; Brendan Boyle of Philadelphia, and Matt Cartwright of Lackawanna counties all had a score of 91.

Outgoing Philly Democratic Congressman Bob Brady had a 86 percent score. He was followed up by the highest- ranking Republican— Bucks County U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, who earned a 83 percent from the League.

Just one point less than Fitzpatrick was Western PA Rep. Conor Lamb. Former Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, who retired last year and is now lobbying for a carbon tax, was next at 43 percent.

The rest of the state’s Republican delegation, including current Reps. Mike Kelly, Scott Perry and Glenn Thompson, had scores within the single digits.

The league only awarded three goose eggs. Two went to Representatives who resigned before the year was up, Republicans Charlie Dent and Pat Meehan.

The other went to Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

Read the full rankings here.