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Posted on Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

3 of 6 Washtenaw County lawmakers get passing grades in new Michigan Environmental Scorecard

By Ryan J. Stanton

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters has released its latest Environmental Scorecard, ranking state lawmakers on their environmental voting records.

But only three of the six lawmakers representing Washtenaw County in the Legislature received passing grades.

Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, scored a 100 percent for the 2011-2012 legislative session, followed by Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, who scored 92 percent. Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, scored 85 percent.


The Michigan Senate in session earlier this year. Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, was one of four senators to receive a perfect score in the new Environmental Scorecard.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Rep. Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township, scored 38 percent, Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, scored 33 percent, and Rep. Rick Olson, R-York Township, scored 31 percent.

The Scorecard is released biennially and is compiled with the help of environmental policy experts from across the state, tracking the most important environmental votes cast.

"While none of our elected officials received a zero, very few received a perfect score, either," said Lisa Wozniak, executive director for Michigan LCV. "We were able to find unanimity on issues such as invasive species, but there continues to be a devastating lack of real champions for Michigan's Great Lakes, air, land, water and wildlife."

Wozniak said the Scorecard gives citizens the power to quickly see whether their elected officials are representing them well on critical issues.

The online, interactive version of the Scorecard is available at The full PDF can be found at

Overall, the LCV found the state Legislature was "below average" when it came to protecting Michigan's natural resources. The state House of Representatives averaged 48 percent, while the state Senate fared slightly better at 52 percent.

Party-line voting hurt the scores of both Democrats and Republicans. For instance, Democrats in the state House voted en masse against extending a fee collection deadline for the Department of Environmental Quality as part of their opposition to a larger budget package. That effectively denied most state House Democrats a chance at perfect scores

According to the LCV's analysis, party-line voting also hurt the scores of Republicans, limiting the highest House Republican score to 46 percent.

Warren was one of four senators to receive a perfect score, along with Steven Bieda, D-Warren; Morris W. Hood III, D-Detroit; and Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor.

While the Senate had an overall score of 52 percent, a flurry of anti-conservation bills in late 2011 and early 2012 hurt the scores of Senate Republicans, many of whom had 80 percent scores through October 2011, according to the LCV's analysis.

After that, party-line votes to force roads through state lands, limit public recreation land ownership and weaken protections for shorelines, sand dunes, groundwater and the Great Lakes dropped their averages considerably.

Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale, and Geoffrey Hansen, R-Hart, had the highest Senate Republican scores at 50 percent.

"This Scorecard makes clear that our legislators too often forget that Michigan's natural resources are responsible for hundreds of thousands of Michigan jobs, billions of dollars from hunting, fishing, and tourism, and a priceless sense of pride in Michigan's unmatched outdoors," said Ryan Werder, political director for Michigan LCV.

The Michigan LCV is an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit group that considers itself the political voice for Michigan's Great Lakes, lands, air, and waters.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Will Warner

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 11:31 p.m.

It is high time we stopped granting that environmentalists occupy the moral high ground. On the contrary, the alleviation of human suffering and support of human aspirations must be our prime concern. We should stop investing inanimate objects such as water and air with moral significance, and return to calling the environment by its former name: natural resources. Man is the measure of all things. The value of the natural world is as habitat for mankind and its purpose it to supply the materials for our fulfillment. People must be clothed, housed, warmed, fed, transported and entertained. The raw materials for all of this must come from our planet and its plants and animals, collectively known as "natural resources."


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

There are a number of people in the environmental movement that think man is the problem Will, including people like yourself. If they had there way they would slowly eliminate man until only themsleves and a select few would be stewards of the earth.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Snark is not impressive - its a cop-out response at best. Our environment is the most valuable asset we have world wide, let alone in Michigan. We are blessed with the great lakes, sand dunes, beautiful vistas that bring in millions of dollars every year in tourism, provide jobs for thousands, and provide the spaces that we are living in. Clean water, clean air, healthy national and state parks, sustainable agriculture are all important for all of us. When we have elected representatives and senators in Lansing voting to do nothing to address potential and existing problems facing our environment, let alone voting to do harm, we have a legisltive body that is ignoring the values of our environment. We also have a legislative body on the Republican side who appear to be almost totally under the thumb of the national Republican Party dogma who, influenced by the Koch Brothers, ALEC, etal, are intent upon removing all barriers for the Koch Brothers, etc. so that they can continue to increase their already obscene amounts of profits. I would have more respect for our Republican representatives and senators if they were demonstrating independent thought that was specific to the needs of Michigan.

John S. Armbruster

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

Just another special interest group. Only one issue important to them and the heck with jobs, unemployment taxes and everything else. Politics as ususal. Ho Hum.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

Which of our posters is able to live outside our environment? How many of you can live without clean air and water? Silly liberals and their "environment"!


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Clownfish - The natural cycle - of fires I agree, but the fuel for these fires was enhanced by the Birch Borer, the gypsy moth and other invasive species that humans brought to the environment. The amount of fuel would have been much less, and more trees would have been left standing to reseed the area if these man made issues did not abound.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

What is so wrong with our environment? Why aren't you writing to the leaders of third world countries instead of trying to bankrupt this one with ever increasing EPA restrictions? Once we go broke there will be nobody keeping the environment clean and then you can experience polution like never before. There are so many limits on logging tht the resource ends up wasted in forest fires. We have CFL's that have mercury in them but the CO2 is reduced? Last time I checked mercury was far more dangerous to humans that the CO2 that we exhale.............


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Forest fires are a part of nature. Many of our plant species have evolved to work with fire. I am not saying that all fires are good, but they are part of our environment. using taxpayer funded roads to benefit private logging companies "should" be anathema to conservatives, I thought.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

Clownfish - If the issues really were about clean air and water - I would take this report and use it to campaign for the people who scored highest. is is about pet causes. Trains, NO roads in the forests, Advertising money for tourism, etc. None of these have to do with clean air and water. In fact the "NO roads" issue ended up with over 30 square miles of forest burned because people could not get to the fire to stop it. Take the particulate matter, the CO2 and other compounds that a 30 square mile fire puts in the air and call it clean air, yes sir. Then look at the issues with water run off from that area for the next several years until the forest grows back...clean water - yes sir - charcoal This is not an evironmental report it is a slanted political piece of gamesmanship - with that hope that most people will not actually look at what it covers - Like Ryan who took the PR mailer and slightly re-wrote it here, since he has little time to do real reporting and still make his article quota. The people who tossed this out knew that. I bet you did not follow the link either and read the actual report before commenting.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 10:29 a.m.

Matching funds for high speed rail and increased funding for tourism advertising are "environmental issues"??? Seems like this is a political organization not a conservation organization.

Superior Twp voter

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:51 a.m.

Laughable non-story.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:39 a.m.

I would rather see a score card for fiscal responsibility


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

LOL - Environmental Score Card... 1) Increase Funding for Pure Michigan (first item on the list) if you voted no, you were against the environment 2) Increase fire break roads in state forests - if you voted for it you were against the environment - With the fires in the UP, I have to question not maintaining fire breaks 3) High Speed rail funding - if you voted against it you were against the environment 4) Restrict the DNR's funding to maintaining the land they have, rather than buying more - if you voted for it - you were against the environment. I am sorry, this is a political - not an environmental score card, brought to you by an arm of the state democratic party.

Rork Kuick

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

Perhaps we are reading different bills. It's my only explanation.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

Mr Kuick - Did you actually look up the bills, I did. The DNR not buying more land from their maintenance money made perfect sense to me, since they have a 4 year backlog on maintenance. Maybe you think letting infrastructure fall down is ok. As to the fire break roads, they are. It was not about private easements, that is already covered under state law, and has been since the 1940s when the state started boxing in private land owners by buying the surrounding land in the UP. It does appear in the bill look again. As to the rest of it, if it were a study on just those issues, the numbers would be very different - but it is not, a bunch of party politics invaded this study, so that the numbers looked worse than they really are. So I will return you Disingenuous.

Rork Kuick

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

I claim: Disingenuous. What reason do you have to be against DNR buying more land? It's hamstringing them, and was grandstanding for Tea Party types. Your #2 is not about "fire break roads", it's about giving easements to private citizens. Sierra clubs thinks it would increase the fire danger. I searched, and the word "fire" does not even appear in the bill. Are you making it up? Then there's what you failed to mention: The "no stricter than federal stuff" - defend that. Defend the weakening of the extraction ordinances. Defend weakening of rules for surface water contamination cleanup. Save your LOLs.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.

Wow, the staff of this group has zero private sector experience to speak of. How can you have a balanced perspective when it appears group think is the normal within this circle.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

Clown - about the same as the current POTUS, except Bush actually owned a few businesses.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

What is the "private sector experience" of: Ronald Reagan Dwight Eisenhower Condileeza Rice George W Bush (this one is a trick question, he either lost money or used taxpayer money to benefit his employer) John Engler


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 12:02 a.m.

Townie Listen c a r e f u l l y. My point is if you want to get a certain result ask the right group. Its not brain surgery! And they won't let me color pictures for you. If you ask the National Right to Life Committee how Obama is doing on human rights you will get one answer. If you ask the Americans United for Change how Obama is doing on human rights you will get a different answer.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

My side GOOD! Their side BAD! Me so enlightened.....

Jay Thomas

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

Okay great, a liberal group gives favorable grades to democrats and unfavorable to Republicans... Next "news story" please!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

What a farce! This means squat! Lets do a scorecard put out by the NRA and see where the low scores are. This is about as worthless as all the list Ann Arbor keeps making.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

The NRA does do a scorecard and has for many years. Along with numerous other organizations.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

The NRA and environment? Ha. The NRA is a corporate gun industry lobby group at this point and no longer supports the interest of hunters, etc. It's just sell more guns to anyone anywhere. Admit it.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

Where is the scorecard on jobs provided? The Dems would be way up there on that one! NOT!


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

I don't know about giving anyone an out? Facts are facts. Thanks Clownfish!


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

I don't know about "giving Obama an out", all I know is that JCJ proposed seeing a scorecard. The scorecard shows democratic presidents faring quite well the last few decades. Then there was the claim that all of the foreclosed homes were caused by Clinton, and we can see that this is not true. If we are going to vote and act politically we need to have the basic facts correct.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

clown - you like to give Obama an out for everything. The recession really started after 9/11 and this country hasn't been right since. The democrats had complete control of the house and senate for the last two years of the Bush presidency (the ones you complain about) and last I checked congress passes all of the spending measures, although president Obama has done a good job of trying to legislate with executive order. Bottom line is the feds need to get spending under control and make the tough cuts of we are all going to suffer under whoever is elected. Obama has had his chance and shown he is out of his league; I personally like the guy and he'd make a great leader for some socialist country; very charismatic, good sense of humor, and entertaining orator......................


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

Interestingly, Clintons numbers go with tax INCREASES, Bush's go with tax cuts. Similarly, Reagans job growth numbers include the 1983 tax increases and growth in public sector jobs. This is all making the assumption that presidents control the economy, which is a pretty big assumption not proven anywhere, as far as I know. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say "The President and Executive Branch shall control the economy".


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

private sector job growth during two first terms. --- Public sector-


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Number of jobs as of January, 1993, a week before Clinton took office: 109.725 million. Number of jobs as of Jan. 2001, a week before Clinton left office: 132.469 million Net Gain under Clinton: 22.7 million jobs. Number of jobs on Jan. 12, 2009, a week before Bush left office: 133.549 million. Net gain under Bush: 1.08 million jobs. BLS data, adjusted for inflation, show that average weekly wages grew by 21 percent from the start of Clinton's first term to the end of his second term. They grew by only 2 percent under Bush's two terms. Source: data from BLS. There is your scorecard, JCL. Are you able to adjust your ideology with this new information?


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

Posted 1/20/2004 1:31 AM Bush seeks to increase minority homeownership By Thomas A. Fogarty, USA TODAY In a bid to boost minority homeownership, President Bush will ask Congress for authority to eliminate the down-payment requirement for Federal Housing Administration loans. In announcing the plan Monday at a home builders show in Las Vegas, Federal Housing Commissioner John Weicher called the proposal the "most significant FHA initiative in more than a decade." It would lead to 150,000 first-time owners annually, he said. ---- "Another priority for a new term is to build an ownership society, because ownership brings security and dignity and independence. ... Thanks to our policies, home ownership in America is at an all- time high. (APPLAUSE) Tonight we set a new goal: 7 million more affordable homes in the next 10 years, so more American families will be able to open the door and say, "Welcome to my home." "- GWB at the 2004 GOP convention.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Too Funny!! Bush had 8 years, but could not "fix" the recession that started in 2001, whereas Obama has had 3 1/2 years to fix the worst recession since the Great Depression, that started in 2007! Hard to argue with that "logic".


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 11:20 a.m.

Townie, blame Bush some more. You liberal. (sorry for the swear). Bush's crash of jobs was from Clinton's promised forced home loans to those who couldn't afford it. Bush never had a chance to fix the crashed market, Obama had 4 years that HE PROMISED unemployment wouldn't go over 8%. Bush would have actually solved the Clinton problem, Obama instead has prolonged it and created people like you, who blame everyone else.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Under George Bush, the average private sector job creation per month was 151,000. Under Obama, it has so far been 143,000 per month. The best month under Bush was 366K, while under Obama it has been 261K. Given the hand Obama was dealt, the private sector job market has been impressive, especially when compared to Bush's bubble-fueled job creation. The Republicans, of course, did everything they could to cut public sector jobs and then blamed Obama for it. But while Bush was in office public sector employment soared (TSA, etc.) but no Republican stood up and screamed about that...


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

Olson is not running for re-election (thankfully) and Ouimet still (please check owes the money from his overcharging days with Washtenaw County. So two losers gone, one to go - Randy. Richardville is your usual Republican joke; pretending to be for regular people but always voting for the wealthy campaign contributors first and foremost. The environment to most Republicans is something that needs to be 'harvested', 'utilized' and once it's destroyed (air, water, etc.) then it's someone other than the people who destroyed it to restore it -- yup, the taxpayer. 'Privitize profits, socialize losses'. The Republican Way.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

'Privitize profits, socialize losses'. The Republican Way." Like Solyndra and other "green" energy, taxpayer funded debacles? Obama has done plenty to socialize losses. I can't believe you made that statement without thinking it through. We are the cleanest nation on the planet environmentally so I'm not sure what your complaint is about.

Sieben 7

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1 a.m.

The townies that I know do not necessarily support Mark and I doubt that he would be elected if he were running in the 53rd district which represents most of the City of Ann Arbor. "Townie" is welcome to call himself that if he has the proper heritage (whatever that means, as it seems to be open to question) and you don't even have to change sides because townies encompass winners AND losers (gain not sure how you define those but obviously MM knows).

Michigan Man

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:31 p.m.

Most townies I know are big backers of Mark Ouimet. You probably have two choices - come on over to the winning side or change your name to "anti-townie".

Tom Todd

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

BUSH started the wars FACT, Bush bailed out the banks FACT. blaming Obama for these issues that are now bankrupting this country is so Faux news/keep watching and having the facts twisted.

G. Orwell

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

@Townie "'Privitize profits, socialize losses'. The Republican Way." Democrats do the same. Obama supported the bank bailout (biggest theft in history. The best way to rob a bank is to own one.), Solyndra, Obamacare to enrich insurance and Big Pharma, new wars to help his buddies in the military-industrial-complex, etc., etc., etc. Democrats are just as bad and evil as Republics because they both work for the same masters. Wake up.

average joe

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Funny, but here is's work-


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

Funny but I asked Ouimet about it and he never responded. When did he write the check? claims to report news so I guess I shouldn't expect much.

average joe

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

Tell us why has to check any assertions of yours- I think that is your job. By the way, Mr. Ouimet wrote a check for his 'overcharging' the county.