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U.S. Congressional Delegation at Climate Talks Dominated by America’s Most Anti-Environmental Legislators

Report Details "Gang of Eight’s" Records of Environmental Degradation

WASHINGTON (November 20, 2000) - Eight of the 12 members of the U.S. Congress attending climate negotiations at The Hague rank among the most anti-environmental members of the House and Senate, according to a report released today by two U.S. environmental organizations. In addition, the report found the eight legislators collectively received more than $1.7 million during the last election cycle from U.S. industries that oppose ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. The report, which was compiled by NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and the National Environmental Trust (NET), is based on non-partisan ratings and campaign contribution filings.

"This delegation is out of step not only with the American public, but with most of the U.S. Congress," said Alyssondra Campaigne, NRDC’s legislative director of NRDC. "Six of the ‘Gang of Eight’ failed to support the environment on any major vote this year. Meanwhile, the average member of Congress voted for the environment 47 percent of the time."

"This isn’t a delegation from the U.S. Congress, it’s a delegation representing America’s worst polluting industries," added Philip Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust.

Legislators’ environmental ratings are compiled annually by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), a non-profit, non-partisan organization. According to LCV, the average environmental voting score for the "Gang of Eight" during the 1999-2000 106th Congress was 4 percent, meaning that on average they voted to protect the environment only 4 percent of the time.

The eight anti-environmental legislators at The Hague climate meeting include Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Mike B. Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) from the Senate, and Joe Barton (R-Texas), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Joseph Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) from the House of Representatives.

The "Gang of Eight" has consistently opposed taking action to address global warming, but their colleagues in both houses recently have begun to take steps to deal with the problem. Over the past year, for example, many leading Senate Republicans have proposed a range of common-sense solutions. And in the House, a bipartisan effort was able to remove Rep. Joseph Knollenberg’s anti-Kyoto Protocol language from three measures this year.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 400,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

National Environmental Trust is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership group established in 1994 to inform citizens about environmental problems and how they effect our health and quality of life.

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