Among the Senate delegations to Congress from all 50 states, Utah's is tied for second-lowest in environmental concern, according to a national scorecard by the League of Conservation Voters.
Utah shares the second-lowest spot with Oklahoma and Wyoming. All three have a rating of only 8 percent positive in environmental votes by senators. Only Mississippi, with a 0 rating, is lower."The National Environmental Scorecard provides voters with the information to keep watch on their elected officials," said the league's Brent Blackwelder. "Our staff carefully selects a broad range of environmental votes and conservation issues and tracks the voting record of each member (of Congress) over the year."
In addition, two of Utah's three members of the House of Representatives have the lowest possible rating, 0 percent.
Broken down geographically, the Mountain West region was lowest overall in terms of Senate and House members; senators from the Southwest were a little lower, while House members were a bit higher.
The average score for senators from the Mountain West was 35 percent, compared with Utah's senatorial average of 8 percent. For the House, the Mountain West representatives averaged 35 percent, while Utah's average was 29 percent positive, the league said.
House votes tracked ranged from creating a strong Department of Environmental Protection to ending "environmentally damaging water subsidies," from plutonium issues to wild- and scenic-river protection.
Senate voting followed by the group covered areas such as the Clean Air Act amendments, controlling toxic emissions from vehicles, global warming and protecting national and state-owned forests.
Overall scores for each member of Congress from Utah:
- Rep. Jim Hansen, D-Utah, 0 percent positive, down from 10 percent in 1989.
- Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, 88 percent positive, a drop from the 90 percent he tallied in 1989.
- Rep. Howard Nielson, 0 percent, same as in 1989.
- Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, 8 percent, a drop from 20 percent in 1989.
- Sen. Orrin Hatch, 8 percent, down from 10 percent in 1989.
The average score for a member of the House of Representatives was 54 percent, and the average for a senator was 49 percent.