Dear Conservation Voter,
This year’s unusual short session shifted our typical Legislative Scorecard. House Bill 2 (HB2), under the smokescreen name “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act,” as well as coal ash cleanup, dominated the NC General Assembly’s agenda. This temporarily slowed the Legislature’s aggressive dismantling of environmental protections with fewer bills passed all around (although it would feel much better to say that such actions halted because legislators finally understand the importance of clean air and water).
Still, the NC Senate leadership found opportunities to propose, discuss, and pass damaging environmental provisions. For the first time in our Scorecard’s 16-year history, the NC House did not vote on enough key environmental bills for us to complete a fair evaluation. Therefore, you will see no 2016 scores for NC House members.
Although the Legislature did not consider many of this session’s anti-conservation provisions, it is likely that these proposed cuts to environmental protections will find their way into bills when the long session begins January 2017. It remains critical for us to hold legislators accountable for how they voted on these issues.
However, it is not enough to simply hold legislators accountable. We need to vote for leaders who value our environment at all levels of government. This year: think about going beyond voting. Civic engagement must continue outside of the voting booth. When we come together to protect our communities, we can and do win. This November, we will start the conversation, but we must work together for the long-term to reclaim the North Carolina we know and love…and know that our leaders will pass good environmental protections once again because they value healthy air and clean water.
Carrie Clark, Executive Director
NC League of Conservation Voters