Record Number of GOP Score Low on Environmental Report Card

Ninety-seven U.S. House members scored a "zero" on the League of Conservation Voters annual voter scorecard, the highest in the tally's 32-year history.

All of the 97 members singled out are Republicans. The League gave 58 Democrats a 100 percent rating.

Nevada Republican Jim Gibbons, one of the House members who scored zero, said he is happy with his score.

He said the analysis used by the League consists of skewed, political "propaganda" aimed at raising money for environmental groups.

Nothing the group does is based on scientific research, Gibbons said in a statement from his Washington office. They "mislead the public by making emotional pitches that completely distort the issues," he said.

Gibbons, however, is on the same side of the issue as environmentalists who oppose creating a nuclear waste storage facility in Yucca Mountain, outside of Las Vegas.

In the Senate, 31 senators, all Republicans, also scored a zero on the scorecard. Fifteen Democratic senators earned a 100 percent rating.

The Senate scorecard used seven test votes to determine each senator's score. The scorecard includes votes on Interior Secretary Gale Norton's nomination, oil and gas exploration drilling in national monuments, the Klamath Basin irrigation project and campaign finance reform.

In its release, the League of Conservation Voters said it included campaign finance reform because "(t)he current campaign finance system allows polluting industries to contribute millions of dollars to political parties that offer access and influence in Congress. Some of the largest contributors of soft money are industries such as the mining, timber and oil industries that pollute our nation's air, land and water and seek to weaken our environmental protections."

The 14 votes included for the House scorecard included drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, drilling in national monuments and in the Gulf of Mexico, new levels for arsenic standards, trade promotion authority and United Nations family planning program funding.

The League said it included a vote on funding U.N. family planning programs, which in some cases pay for abortion counseling services because "these programs help to conserve natural resources, protect wildlife and habitat, and ultimately ensure a healthy world for future generations."

The 97 House members with "zero" ratings in 2001 were the most in the history of the scorecard. The previous high was 80 in 1999.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.