ELM Action Fund Unveils Legislative "Dirty Dozen"

The Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund today unveiled its “Dirty Dozen” state legislators, highlighting five State Representatives and one State Senator with poor voting records on key environmental issues.  

With the six lawmakers announced in May, these legislators represent an undistinguished bloc of elected officials who consistently oppose reasonable progress to safeguard our environment.

The six final members of the “Dirty Dozen” are Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Webster), Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren), Representative Kevin Kuros (R-Uxbridge), Representative David DeCoste (R-Norwell), Representative Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton) and Representative Kate Campanale (R-Leicester).

They join the previously announced members of the “Dirty Dozen”: Representative Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield), Representative Nicholas Boldyga (R-Southwick), Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), Representative Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica), Representative James Lyons (R-Andover) and Representative Elizabeth Poirier (R-North Attleboro).

“If you like rundown parks and pools, contaminated land, ongoing threats to our rivers and coastline and oppose the jobs being created by the environmental economy, these legislators are for you,” said ELM Action Fund Political Director Joe O’Brien. “For Massachusetts, these lawmakers are anti-progress and they simply need to go.”

The ELM Action Fund, the nonpartisan political arm of the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) and the state affiliate of the national League of Conservation Voters (LCV), waited to finalize its list until legislators voted on key measures toward the end of this legislative session.

The five newly named Representatives were included in part because they voted against key budget provisions that support environmental protection and state parks. Both budget amendments received overwhelming bi-partisan support in the House and Senate. Senator Fattman voted for those particular budget amendments but has a consistent record of voting against the environment.

These recorded votes are considered particularly critical because these state agencies have experienced disproportionate budget cuts over the past several years, with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Recreation experiencing staff reductions of over 30 percent since 2008.  

Regrettably, state spending on environmental protection represents less than 1 percent of the overall state operating budget, the lowest in decades. Every year ELM issues the “Green Budget” report which documents the impact of underfunding of environmental protection. This year’s report has 75 endorsing organizations from around the Commonwealth. Governor Charlie Baker, as a candidate for Governor, pledged to increase spending for environmental protection to 1 percent over four years.

“You cannot do more with less,” said O’Brien. “State environmental agencies are so underfunded, they cannot function effectively. 

“Those who support the environment need legislators who will protect clean water, air and parklands while supporting new industries and jobs by advancing clean, renewable energy like off-shore wind and solar. In short, we will support legislators who will put their money where their mouth is.”

While the 12 legislators are all members of the Republican Party, the ELM Action Fund is nonpartisan and rates lawmakers purely with regard to their votes and other policy actions, not their party affiliation.

This spring the ELM Action Fund honored six Republican legislators for their pro-environmental voting records, including Senators Bruce Tarr and Donald Humason, as well as four Representatives with a 95 percent rating from the last Legislative session –Representatives Angelo D’Emilia, Kimberly Ferguson, Paul Frost, and Donald Wong. This summer the Action Fund also has endorsed Republican candidates for election and re-election.