2023 NCLCV Legislative Scorecard Released

NCLCV Releases 2023 Legislative Scorecard and Urges Voters To Use It In 2024 Elections

Today, the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters (NCLCV) released their annual scorecard, their primary tool for evaluating and reporting on support or opposition by elected officials on environmental issues. NCLCV has consistently released a scorecard since 1999. The scorecard can be found at nclcv.org/scorecard

This past session, legislators bowed to corporate greed and stripped wetland protections. Now, at least 2.5 million acres of wetlands are open for development in North Carolina. One acre of wetlands can store 1-1.5 million gallons of water, and one square kilometer of wetlands saves $1.8 million in property damage. During Hurricane Sandy in 2012, wetlands reduced damages for coastal states by an average of 11%. Yet during the hottest summer ever recorded, with sea level rising, and climate experts predicting more frequent and intense natural disasters, the legislature opened millions of acres of wetlands to developers. 

“Last year, legislators were presented with real choices and many chose wrong,” said Dan Crawford, NCLCV’s director of governmental relations. “Too many legislators chose to side with polluters and corporate interests, instead of acting in the public’s best interest. Too many legislators chose to leave communities unprotected. This scorecard makes that very clear.”

The legislature also failed to address known carcinogens in water systems across North Carolina. 

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)–more commonly known as “forever chemicals” due to their inability to naturally degrade in our environment and our bodies–persist in the food and drink of many North Carolinians. With limited action from the state legislature, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Attorney General Josh Stein, and Governor Roy Cooper stepped in to address the issue of PFAS through more strict restrictions and lawsuits.

In addition to his work on PFAS, and despite the veto-proof majority in the legislature, Governor Cooper consistently confronted major polluters and denounced the legislature’s attacks on the environment, energizing voters across the state. During the last legislative session, Cooper exercised his veto power on a series of bills regarded as some of the most stringent and concerning environmental regulation reversals ever presented to this body. His work is presented and graded in the 2023 scorecard.

Finally, our scorecard covers the health of NC democracy. Last year, the legislature passed three bills to consolidate power in the legislature and take power away from the other branches of government. It is imperative to allow voters to reflect their beliefs at the ballot without the unchecked power of the legislative branch controlling the voting process. If the last four years have shown us anything, it is that democracy is fragile, and the battle to maintain it demands our full attention. Additionally, the new Republican majority NC Supreme Court overturned a prior ruling and allowed the legislature to draw new districts. The legislature again created highly gerrymandered districts, denying voters the opportunity to elect a majority that reflects their views.The scorecard allows voters of all backgrounds to evaluate how politicians vote on pressing environmental issues. “We believe the most important thing you can do for the environment is vote. And it is more important than ever for voters to elect environmental champions in the 2024 elections,” said Carrie Clark, executive director at NCLCV. “We urge voters to use this scorecard to hold legislators accountable for their votes.”


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