For media inquiries, please contact Stefanie Francisco at sfrancisco@conservationalabama.org.

Conservation Alabama's full press kit can be found here.


LCV LAUNCHES "OUR LANDS, OUR VOTE"

June 20, 2017

Washington, DC - On the heels of Interior Secretary Zinke’s recommendation to remove protections for Bears Ears National Monument in what may just be a preview of the Trump administration’s coming assault on our national parks and monuments, the League of Conservation Voters today launched the new “Our Lands, Our Vote” campaign to engage and mobilize community leaders, activists, public officials and the broader public to support America’s majestic national parks, the monuments that tell the story of all people in this country – including those places which are the gatekeepers to our nation’s human rights and civil rights history – and defend key conservation laws such as the Antiquities Act.

With an initial commitment of $600,000, the national “Our Lands, Our Vote” campaign will involve a mix of paid advertising, online organizing and on-the-ground mobilization to demonstrate the overwhelming public support for national monuments and the rich cultural history each holds, as well as oppose congressional attacks on laws such as the Antiquities Act that have allowed presidents of both parties to protect public lands as national monuments.

The campaign will include continuing to encourage public comments into the Interior Department in support of national monuments during its ongoing review, with an initial goal of submitting 250,000 by the July 10 close of Interior's comment period, of which 150,000 have already been submitted by LCV members. It will feature digital content showcasing particular national monuments and the stories of local community members that are benefiting from and working to preserve these landmarks. And it will use online and other advertising and phone calls from constituents to apply pressure to anti-parks politicians to support the Antiquities Act and other conservation laws.

“America’s parks should be protected and celebrated – not sold off to special interests,” said Gene Karpinski, President of LCV. “These lands – and the natural and cultural heritage they hold – belong to all of us and generations to come. From the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon, our monuments and parks honor our nation’s deep history and the history of those who originated on those lands, they recognize our dedication to human and civil rights, and they protect our lands and waters that fuel this country’s thriving outdoor recreation industry. This campaign will mobilize the public to hold Trump and members of Congress accountable for putting corporate polluter interests ahead of people.”

"Secretary Zinke's recommendation to significantly reduce national monument designation for Bears Ears National Monument sets the stage for additional attacks on all of America’s national parks and public lands, including New Mexico’s own Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments,” said Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. “It’s a page out of the playbook by a small contingent of special interests to dispose of America’s national forests, conservation lands, and open space. But the campaign to transfer or even sell off our shared lands should not be mistaken for the mainstream values of Westerners whose way of life depends on the region’s land and water."

“This administration has picked the wrong fight with the American people,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). “Secretary Zinke and the White House keep forgetting the ‘public’ in our public lands. The longer they treat our national monuments as problems to be solved rather than the popular successes they are, the more resistance they’ll face. Our national monuments don’t exist to make a few Republican donors happy – they exist for all of us to enjoy and preserve for the future. If this administration has to learn that the hard way, I join the millions of Americans across the country ready to stand up and teach them.”

Many of LCV’s state affiliates are also participating in the campaign, with the leaders of affiliates from Alabama, Colorado, Idaho and Maine speaking out about the importance of monuments in their states and to their communities.

"In Alabama, we know firsthand that public lands serve as a foundation for a healthy environment, a strong economy, and thriving communities,” said Tammy Herrington, Executive Director of Conservation Alabama. “The Antiquities Act preserves not only spectacular landscapes like the Grand Canyon but also cultural landmarks like those in Birmingham and Anniston that tell our country's history. The bipartisan support we saw for our state's national monuments is an example of the support public lands should be receiving across the country."

“Protected lands are good for Colorado’s economy, and we want more of them, not less,” said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado. “National monuments and public lands are incredibly important to our state – not only do they preserve our beautiful places and tell our state’s history and stories, but they are important for the economy.”

"In Idaho, this isn't an issue about right versus left but about right versus wrong, and protecting our natural heritage for future generations is vital because these landscapes make Idaho a great place to live, work and raise a family," said Rialin Flores of Conservation Voters for Idaho.

“The Trump Administration’s attack on our national monuments is an attack on Maine’s natural legacy and economic future,” said Maureen Drouin, Executive Director of Maine Conservation Voters. “I stand with everyone gathered here today and indeed Americans across the country to protect our nation’s heritage and the national monuments that are part of the fabric of our country’s history.”

The Trump administration's review of national monuments has already generated a significant backlash, with more than 1 million comments having been submitted in favor of national monuments like the tribal-supported Bears Ears National Monument.  With the comment period set to close on July 10 and Secretary Zinke's final recommendation on national monuments due to Trump on August 24, the public still has an opportunity to make its voice heard in defense of our shared public lands. Meanwhile, several members of Congress have introduced legislation weakening the Antiquities Act and otherwise attacking our parks. "Our Lands, Our Vote" will provide a vehicle for the public to resist this assault on America's natural and cultural heritage.

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SAM MEAD WILLIAMS JOINS STAFF AS CONSERVATION ALABAMA SEES POTENTIAL FOR GROWTH

June 8, 2017

Montgomery, Ala. – Sam Mead Williams has been hired as Development Director at Conservation Alabama and Conservation Alabama Foundation, a position vacated by Stefanie Francisco who now leads the organization’s Communications Department. Williams will be based in Mobile while Francisco remains at the Montgomery office.

“Our work and influence have both increased significantly over the past three years as a direct result of our successful efforts to protect Alabama’s state parks and the Forever Wild Land Trust,” explains Tammy Herrington, Executive Director of Conservation Alabama. “Expanding our staff prepares us to meet our greater fundraising and communications needs.”

Stefanie Francisco was named Development Director in 2014 and also managed the organization’s communications and marketing. “We decided to divide Stefanie’s office into two distinct departments so we could work more effectively,” says Herrington. “After meeting with Sam, I felt her political acumen and fundraising experience would align perfectly with Conservation Alabama’s new goals.” 

Williams gained experience in political campaigning, public affairs, government relations, and analytical research methods while working as Project Manager at Strategy, Public Relations in Mobile, Alabama. In 2008, she worked with Judge Edmond Naman as the site director for a grant-based juvenile court reform effort at Strickland Youth Center.

Williams joined the United Way of Baldwin County as a founding member of their Young Leaders Society, and is presently in her second year as Executive Director for WabiSabi, a leadership program for 11-year-old girls on the Gulf Coast. She sat on the Board of Trustees for Alabama Outward Bound School, was a member of the Development Council for USA Children’s and Woman’s Hospital, and was a candidate for Leukemia/Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year. Sam lives in Spanish Fort with her two kids, Avery and Kohen.

Founded in 1999, Conservation Alabama is the only full-time lobbyist for the environment in the state. For more information about staff, programs, and how to support our work, visit www.ConservationAlabama.org.

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CONSERVATION ALABAMA COMMENDS APPOINTMENT OF BLANKENSHIP, PRAISES GUY'S RECORD

June 2, 2017

Montgomery, Ala. – Conservation Alabama commends Governor Ivey's appointment of Chris Blankenship as Acting Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Blankenship most recently served as Deputy Commissioner after having been Marine Resources Director since 2011.

“Chris has worked to protect Alabama’s fisheries, and he understands the complexities of coastal restoration in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He is also intimately knowledgeable about the economic importance of Alabama’s natural resources," said Tammy Herrington, Executive Director of Conservation Alabama. "We look forward to continuing to work with DCNR and Chris to preserve our beautiful state.”

Blankenship was appointed after Governor Ivey accepted the resignation of Commissioner Gunter Guy. Guy had served in the role since January 2011.

“Commissioner Guy earned the respect of the conservation community during his tenure,” said Herrington. “He and his staff took on a whole new set of responsibilities after the oil spill, managing the various funding streams and coastal restoration projects and seeking input from a diverse set of stakeholders. He also defended Forever Wild against numerous legislative attacks and led a successful effort to protect the budget of our state parks. I applaud Commissioner Guy for the work he has done to protect the people and places of Alabama.”

Founded in 1999, Conservation Alabama is the only full-time lobbyist for the environment in our state. Conservation Alabama has offices in Mobile and Montgomery to better protect the people and places you love. Learn more about Conservation Alabama by visiting our website.

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2016 Scorecard Shows Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Environmental Record

February 23, 2017

Montgomery, Ala. – Two weeks after former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was confirmed as the U.S. Attorney General, Sessions' score of 0% on the League of Conservation Voters' (LCV) 2016 National Environmental Scorecard offers insight into what his priorities may be in his new role.

Sen. Richard Shelby and former Sen. Jeff Sessions each earned a score of 0% by voting against clean water, energy efficiency, and public lands. Both senators voted to void the Clean Water Rule that protects the drinking water consumed by one in three Americans. Sessions also voted for a bill that would have gutted the Antiquities Act, a key piece of legislation that is used to preserve public lands from the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon.

"Time and again we've seen that conservation can and should be a bipartisan issue," said Tammy Herrington, Executive Director of Conservation Alabama. "We hope that Attorney General Sessions is mindful of that, and that he remembers his former constituents in Alabama were protected by laws like the Clean Water Act in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster."

LCV's 2016 National Environmental Scorecard publishes the environmental voting record for each member during the second session of the 114th Congress. This year, a record-breaking 38 House votes are included in the scorecard. The Alabama congressional delegation's scores are being released by Conservation Alabama in partnership with LCV. The full scorecard is available in English and Spanish here.

Once again, Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) maintained her position as the highest scoring member of Alabama's delegation by voting to protect the laws that safeguard our drinking water and public lands. The remainder of the state's delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives scored no higher than 3%.

“2016 saw a relentless assault on both bedrock environmental protections and recent progress even as we experienced the hottest year on record – for the third year in a row – and world leaders came together on Earth Day to sign the historic climate agreement reached in Paris,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “Fortunately, President Obama and our allies in Congress beat back the vast majority of these attacks and stood up for the health of our families, communities of color on the frontlines of climate change, and the international consensus to take action on climate.”

House District: Member - Score

AL-1: Byrne - 0

AL-2: Roby - 3

AL-3: Rogers - 3

AL-4: Aderholt - 3

AL-5: Brooks - 3

AL-6: Palmer - 0

AL-7: Sewell - 82

 

Senator - Score

Sessions - 0

Shelby - 0

For over 40 years, the National Environmental Scorecard issued by LCV has been the nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health, and energy issues. LCV has released a new interactive National Environmental Scorecard, which allows users to easily see how every member of Congress voted since the launch of LCV’s first Scorecard in 1971. It can be found online at http://scorecard.lcv.org/.  

Conservation Alabama is the only full-time environmental lobbying organization in the state, and the state affiliate of the League of Conservation Voters. Visit us online at www.conservationalabama.org and follow us on Twitter @ConservationAL.

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AMENDMENT 2 PASSES, ALABAMA VOTERS PROTECT STATE PARKS

November 8, 2016

Montgomery, Ala. – Voters passed Amendment 2, voicing their support for Alabama's state parks and their desire to protect them from further budget crises.
 
"Tonight, Alabamians made it clear they saw through confusing ballot language and widespread misinterpretations and understood that state parks need to be able to keep the money they earn," said Tammy Herrington, Executive Director of Conservation Alabama. "We know that state parks are vitally important to our communities, and the voters demonstrated that tonight by passing Amendment 2."
 
Amendment 2 was proposed by Sen. Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) in response to public outcry in 2015 when five of our state parks were closed and seven reduced hours and services due to a lack of funds. The amendment will end the legislature's ability to appropriate funds earned by state parks and move those funds to be spent elsewhere. 
 
"This is a fundamental shift for our state parks," Herrington continued. "After several years of watching the money they've earned go out the door to fund other state programs, the state parks division will now be able to budget effectively without worrying about another transfer to the General Fund."
 
Founded in 1999, Conservation Alabama is the only full-time lobbyist for the environment in our state. Conservation Alabama has offices in Mobile and Montgomery to better protect the people and places you love. Learn more about Conservation Alabama by visiting our website.
 
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AL-79 CANDIDATES OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT CONSERVATION

September 8, 2016

Montgomery, Ala. – While candidates for Alabama's 79th District House seat certainly differ on some issues, Jay Conner, Joe Lovvorn, and Sandy Toomer share a commitment to our state parks, public lands, and water resources. 

In advance of the special election on September 13, all four candidates who qualified to run for this seat were invited to share their priorities for Alabama's natural resources via Conservation Alabama's "Conservation Candidates" questionnaire. The responses of the three candidates who participated can be found here.

"We know that voters in this district value their natural resources and want a conservation champion representing them in Montgomery," said Tammy Herrington, Executive Director of Conservation Alabama. "We're pleased to see that Auburn and Opelika voters have their pick of three candidates who support conservation and understand that a healthy environment supports our economy and communities."

While the candidates differed on their interpretation of the legislature's role in protecting the environment, they agreed that part of the legislature's job is to support state parks and the Forever Wild Land Trust. They all also noted the importance of completing a comprehensive water plan to protect our freshwater resources from other states' interests.

Candidate Brett Smith did not respond to the questionnaire before the deadline. 

Founded in 1999, Conservation Alabama is the only full-time lobbyist for the environment in our state. Conservation Alabama has offices in Mobile and Montgomery to better protect the people and places you love. Learn more about Conservation Alabama by visiting our website.

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Alabama Congressional Delegation Votes Against Health, Safety, & Clean Energy

February 24, 2016

Mobile, Ala. – The League of Conservation Voters' 2015 National Environmental Scorecard reveals the most anti-environmental Congress in our history. The first session of the 114th Congress was a continuation of the attacks on the vital protections of the natural resources that keep our families and communities healthy and safe. The Alabama congressional delegation's scores are being released by Conservation Alabama in partnership with the national League of Conservation Voters. 

"In Alabama, a healthy environment is the foundation of resilient communities and a strong economy," said Tammy Herrington, Executive Director of Conservation Alabama. "We're grateful for allies like Rep. Terri Sewell who understand that connection and fight to protect our natural resources and the people who enjoy them."

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) maintained her position as the highest scoring member of Alabama's delegation with a score of 71% by voting to protect the laws that keep our environment safe and preserve the funding needed for clean energy programs. The remainder of the state's delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives scored no higher than 9% because of their votes against the basic protections of the natural resources relied on by Alabamians.

In the U.S. Senate, Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions each earned a score of 4% by voting against the health and well-being of the environment on all but one of the relevant bills debated by the Senate. Both senators voted against an amendment that would have required tar sands producers to pay into the Oil Spill Liability Fund, leaving taxpayers on the hook for tar sands clean-up. They also voted for a bill that would have minimized public involvement in the discussion of drilling on public lands, preventing citizens from having a say in what happens to lands that belong to all of us. 

The 2015 Scorecard includes 35 House votes, which ties the record for the most votes scored in the House for the fourth time in five years, and 25 votes in the Senate, the second highest number ever included. Both chambers seemingly left no environmental issue untouched in 2015, with assaults on the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Antiquities Act. 

“The 2015 Scorecard shows that the radical leadership in the House and Senate wasted no time pursuing big polluters’ agenda last year, and their environmental assault is well underway in 2016,” said League of Conservation Votes President Gene Karpinski. “Fortunately, we have a growing force of environmental allies, including the president, as well as many in Congress, who are working tirelessly to combat climate change, transition to a clean energy economy and safeguard our air, water, lands and wildlife.” 

House District: Member - Score

AL-1: Byrne - 0

AL-2: Roby - 2

AL-3: Rogers - 0

AL-4: Aderholt - 3

AL-5: Brooks - 9

AL-6: Palmer - 6

AL-7: Sewell - 71

Senate - Score

Sessions - 4

Shelby - 4

For over 40 years, the National Environmental Scorecard issued by LCV has been the nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health, and energy issues. LCV has released a new interactive National Environmental Scorecard, which allows users to easily see how every member of Congress voted since the launch of LCV’s first Scorecard in 1971. It can be found online at http://scorecard.lcv.org/.  

Conservation Alabama is the only full-time environmental lobbying organization in the state, and the state affiliate of the League of Conservation Voters. You can visit us online at www.conservationalabama.org and follow us on Twitter @ConservationAL.

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Montgomery mayoral candidates share conservation priorities

August 13, 2015

Montgomery, Ala. – In advance of the August 25 mayoral election, incumbent Mayor Todd Strange and challenger Artur Davis described their visions for making Montgomery's natural resources healthy and accessible. Strange and Davis were the only two candidates to respond to the questions out of the five contacted by Conservation Alabama.

"Conservation issues haven't been at the forefront of this election, but the environment is the foundation of our community," said Tammy Herrington, Executive Director of Conservation Alabama. "We want Montgomery's voters to hear from their candidates about where conservation fits into their priorities."

Both candidates expressed appreciation for our state's abundance of natural resources, and acknowledged that walkable neighborhoods and vibrant outdoor spaces are key to attracting high quality employers to the city. When asked how he would make Montgomery's natural resources accessible to all citizens, Strange mentioned recently completed projects, saying, "We have tried to expand parks and greenspaces, from the downtown farm, to Wright Brothers Park to The Environmental Park on Fairview which cleans up waste-water and runoff via an urban wetland ecopark, to renovating the Planetarium and Oak Park which surrounds it."

Davis noted a disparity in the city's park locations, saying, "Montgomery's parks and open spaces are mostly suburban: there ought to be a genuine effort to create open space near Fairview and the Mobile Highway. It struck me the day we reenacted the end of the Selma to Montgomery March how little open space exists in this sector of the city. I think we would also do well to sponsor more programs to bring kids from distressed communities to our city's best parks, for recreation and organized activities."

The full text of both candidates' responses can be found here. 

Founded in 1999, Conservation Alabama is the only full-time lobbyist for the environment in our state. Conservation Alabama has offices in Mobile and Montgomery to better protect the people and places you love. Learn more about Conservation Alabama by visiting our website.

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alabama power asks for increased renewable energy options

July 14, 2015

Mobile, Ala. – Conservation Alabama commends Alabama Power’s efforts to generate 500 megawatts of energy from renewable resources, including solar. The utility is applying for approval from the Public Service Commission to provide options for customers who want to purchase renewable energy, including projects that generate up to 80 megawatts each. 

“This is the beginning of what we would like to see as a long-term change in how Alabama produces and uses energy,” said Tammy Herrington, Executive Director of Conservation Alabama. “Alabama Power is signaling their commitment to renewable energy, and we look forward to working with them to expand this program to make our state a leader in solar energy.”

If Alabama Power’s request is approved, between 10% and 15% of their energy could come from renewable sources, including solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. While this plan focuses on large-scale solar projects, Alabama Power offers homeowners the option to generate their own solar power using rooftop panels. Alabama Power customers can also purchase Renewable Energy Certificates, which support the development of renewable energy.

“Renewable energy means cleaner water and air for all Alabamians,” Herrington said. “More companies and more citizens are demanding renewable energy options. This is a win for our environment, our economy, and our communities.”

Founded in 1999, Conservation Alabama is the only full-time lobbyist for the environment in our state. Conservation Alabama has offices in Mobile and Montgomery to better protect the people and places you love. Learn more about Conservation Alabama by visiting our website.

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bp settlement provides opportunities for alabama's natural resources

July 2, 2015

Mobile, Ala. – The announcement of a $2.3 billion settlement for the state of Alabama signals an end to the legal proceedings between BP and the Gulf Coast and the beginning of a new chapter for restoration efforts in the state. Conservation Alabama commends Attorney General Luther Strange’s team for reaching this settlement quickly and looks forward to working with partner organizations and the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council to restore Alabama’s environment, economy, and communities.

“It is vital that our legislators remember the intent of this funding,” said Conservation Alabama Executive Director Tammy Herrington. “The money allocated to the General Fund provides an opportunity to protect Alabama’s state parks and public lands, which are facing devastating budget cuts and serve as economic drivers for their communities and our state.”

According to Governor Bentley, $1 billion will be distributed to the state’s General Fund budget over 18 years but will not fix the state’s current budget crisis. As the legislature convenes for the special legislative session later this summer, our elected officials should consider this funding source as well as others that would support Alabama’s beleaguered Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Management.

Since the governor has indicated that the $1 billion going to the General Fund will be used for “economic recovery,” the remaining $1.3 billion allocated to the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council must be spent on projects that truly restore Alabama’s damaged environment. “Without projects that focus on long-term environmental recovery and stability, we risk losing the natural resources that are absolutely vital to the health of Alabama’s Gulf Coast’s environment, economy, and communities,” Herrington said.

Founded in 1999, Conservation Alabama is the only full-time lobbyist for the environment in our state. Conservation Alabama has offices in Mobile and Montgomery to better protect the people and places you love. Learn more about Conservation Alabama by visiting our website.

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ALABAMA CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION VOTES AGAINST CLEAN AIR, PUBLIC LANDS

February 26, 2015

Mobile, Ala. – The League of Conservation Voters' 2014 National Environmental Scorecard reflects the U.S. House of Representative's continued efforts to undermine public health and limit access to public lands. While the U.S. Senate was able to prevent many harmful bills from ever being debated, the second session of the 113th Congress was a continuation of the attack on the vital protections of natural resources. The Alabama congressional delegation's scores are being released by Conservation Alabama in partnership with the national League of Conservation Voters. 

"We know that Alabama's voters see conservation as a non-partisan issue," said Tammy Herrington, Executive Director of Conservation Alabama. "We want to continue to work with our elected officials to make sure that their votes in Congress reflect the reality that our economy and our communities depend on a healthy, accessible environment."

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) maintained her track record as the highest scoring member of Alabama's delegation with a score of 77% by voting to clean up Superfund sites and limit pollutants. The remainder of the state's delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives scored no higher than 3% because of their votes against the basic protections of the natural resources relied on by Alabama's communities and economy.

In the U.S. Senate, Sen. Richard Shelby achieved a score of 20% thanks to his vote to preserve reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program. Sen. Jeff Sessions merited a score of 0% by voting against the health and well-being of the environment on all five relevant bills debated by the Senate. 

The 2014 Scorecard includes five Senate votes and a record 35 House votes on issues ranging from promoting safe and efficient energy to limiting pollution from pesticides and emissions. President Obama has defended against many of the House’s attacks and worked to make progress on critical environmental issues through administrative action.

“This year’s Scorecard shows that while the world experienced the hottest year on record, the U.S. House leadership continued its reckless assault on our environment, proving themselves nothing more than a carbon copy of the past three years,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “Fortunately, we have a force of environmental allies, including the president, as well as many state elected officials, who are intent on pulling us closer and closer to meeting the greatest challenge of our time—climate change.”

House District: Member - Score

AL-1: Byrne - 0

AL-2: Roby - 3

AL-3: Rogers - 0

AL-4: Aderholt - 3

AL-5: Brooks - 3

AL-6: Bachus - 3

AL-7: Sewell - 77

Senate - Score

Sessions - 0

Shelby - 20

For over 40 years, the National Environmental Scorecard issued by LCV has been the nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health, and energy issues. LCV has released a new interactive National Environmental Scorecard, which allows users to easily see how every member of Congress voted since the launch of LCV’s first Scorecard in 1971. It can be found online athttp://scorecard.lcv.org/.  

Conservation Alabama is the statewide affiliate to the League of Conservation Voters. As the Alabama conservation community’s political organization, Conservation Alabama’s mission is to protect the people and places you love. You can visit us online atwww.conservationalabama.org and follow us on Twitter @ConservationAL.

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