Louisiana Election for Governor - Comparison of Records on the Environment

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Sierra Club Delta Chapter in Louisiana would like for members and friends to know what a comparison of records on the environment between the two candidates for governor looks like. So we have put together this brief description of recent performance.

David Vitter scored 0% on the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) National Environmental Scorecard for 2014. His lifetime score is 5%. In the LCV Senate Special Edition, Feb 2015, David Vitter voted wrong on every legislative issue including Requiring Tar Sands Companies to Pay for Spills, Regulation of Toxic Tar Sands Byproducts, Clean Air Protections for communities living downwind of coal fired power plants, Recognition of Climate Science, Drilling on Public Lands, Exemption of Fracking from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and Reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. http://www.lcv.org/assets/pdf/special-edition-scorecard.pdf

And on issues specific to Louisiana, a few examples:

David Vitter refused to cosponsor a senate bill sponsored by Mary Landrieu to expand Jean Lafitte National Historic Park. He tried to kill the bill in committee and voted against it in a final omnibus bill for national parklands. The Jean Lafitte National Park preserves valuable natural areas and is a generator of tourism and economic activity for the west bank in Jefferson Parish.

David Vitter opposed any regulation by the US Army Corps of Engineers of clear cutting of cypress trees in wetlands. He tried to stop the Corps from requiring section 404 permits for construction of roads which enable illegal clear cutting in wetland areas where cypress could not regrow. Coastal cypress forests are known to provide hurricane storm surge protection and extremely valuable ecosystem resources.

More recently David Vitter has in an April 16, 2015 letter to the Corps threatened not to support leadership transitions and promotions in the New Orleans District until they comply with a list of demands including approval of a 404 permit for the controversial Helis exploratory well in St. Tammany Parish. Parish residents have vigorously opposed opening the Parish up to fracking because of concerns about air and water pollution, damage to the aquifer that supplies drinking water, and the industrialization of the parish. Promotions within the Corps require Congressional approval. The letter threatens the careers of key personnel in NO district. http://vanishingearth.org/2015/11/05/senator-vitter-corruption-reaches-s...

David Vitter’s office has been unresponsive to requests for information from environmental organizations. He has pushed to limit local control over projects and consistently seeks to micromanage projects within the Corps of Engineers New Orleans District.

John Bel Edwards was first elected in 2007 to represent St. Helena and parts of East Feliciana and Tangipahoa Parishes. So his legislative record is not as long as the record for David Vitter. He has taken firm stands in opposition to Governor Jindal’s policies, including his cuts to environmental protections. John Bel Edwards made the “Green Team,” a group of twelve Representatives and seven Senators with the highest scores in the 2014 session of the Louisiana legislature. The rating was from the Green Army, a state-wide coalition of Environmental and Community Organizations working for the protection of the environment and public health in Louisiana.

In the 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session Edwards voted for the environment and public health on Regulation of Salt Domes, Abandoned Oil Wells, and Holding the Oil and Gas Industry Responsible for their portion of destruction of coastal wetlands in Louisiana. Although John Bel Edwards strongest legislative record is in the areas of education, public health and infrastructure, he has shown consistent support on environmental issues though we note that he has voiced support for the Keystone XL pipeline as a jobs issue in Louisiana.

Woody Martin, Chair
Sierra Club Delta Chapter
hrmartin2sc@gmail.com

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