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Posted on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

Washtenaw County Democrats earn high marks for lame duck votes in new Michigan Environmental Scorecard

By Ryan J. Stanton

The Ann Arbor-based Michigan League of Conservation Voters on Wednesday released a new environmental scorecard for the state Legislature's recent lame duck session.

The scorecard offers a look at the voting records of Michigan state representatives and senators on conservation and environmental issues during the busy last few weeks of the 2011-12 session.

The report scores 10 votes from the lame duck, including legislation removing sand dune protections, the establishment of a regional transit authority in Southeast Michigan, and legislation that weakened cleanup regulations for contaminated properties.


House Democrats collectively averaged 81 percent, while House Republicans averaged 39 percent. In the Senate, the Democrats averaged 95 percent, while Republicans averaged 35 percent.

Ryan J. Stanton | file photo

House Democrats collectively averaged 81 percent, while House Republicans averaged 39 percent. In the Senate, the Democrats averaged 95 percent, while Republicans averaged 35 percent.

For a complete analysis, download the report.

Jack Schmitt, the Michigan LCV's political director, said it's his group's mission to hold elected officials accountable for the decisions they make that affect Michigan's environment.

"As the new Legislature is sworn in today, we look forward to advocating for a greater appreciation of Michigan's lands, waters, air, and Great Lakes than we saw from the last Legislature," he said.

"Overall, some gains were made, but much was lost," he added. "This Legislature can start fresh. The 2013-14 scorecard starts now."

Two new state representatives for Washtenaw County — Adam Zemke, D-Ann Arbor, and Gretchen Driskell, D-Saline, were sworn into office on Wednesday. State Reps. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, and Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, also returned to their posts.

Irwin was among at the top of his class in the LCV's latest scorecard with a 90 percent ranking for the lame duck session. His overall score for 2011-12 was 91 percent. Rutledge had a score of 80 percent for the lame duck, and 83 percent for the 2011-12 legislative session.

State Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, has maintained a perfect score of 100 percent throughout her career and the lame duck was no exception.

Irwin and Rutledge, like many of their colleagues, lost points for voting against creation of the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority.

Additionally, Rutledge lost points for his vote in favor of legislation that doubles the span of time between reviews of Michigan’s construction codes from every three years to every six years.

Washtenaw County's two Republican representatives, whose terms ended last month, cast what the Michigan LCV considered anti-environment votes 6 out of 10 times in the lame duck.

That gave both Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township, and Rick Olson, R-York Township, a score of 40 percent for the lame duck, and even lower scores for the rest of 2011-12.

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.



Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

I wonder what the political affiliation is for individual members of this league. This could say a lot about their opinions on various matters, as well as if their opinions are politically, unbiased. Go figure!


Wed, Jan 9, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

No suprise the GOP scored lousy marks. They have looked upon he environment as something to exploit my whole life. Future generations will pay the price for their shortsightedness. And yes, global climate change is real and undebateable. By the way, the world is NOT cooling. Globally, in the last 15 years, we've seen our 10 hottest years on record. This year was the hottest year our country has ever seen. In Australia, they had to recalibrate their temperature scale to account for this latest prolonged, unprecedented heat wave.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Rad: Enlighten yourself, just read a little about Richard Nixon and what he did for the enviroment. Even though he resigned he was more pro active than all your Al Gores you can come up with. Even Bush made sure 1,000 of acres were dedicated to national parks during adminstration. All the dems care about are new rules and mandates.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

Yes! Let's blame Bush and the republicans for global warming. Even affected Australia - eh?


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

Yes, but how will Rick Snyder's best friends, the Koch brothers make ends meet if they can't throw the environment away in search of more gas and oil?