In case there was any doubt that the "most anti-environment House of Representatives in history" has earned its reputation, the League of Conservation Voters has released its annual scorecard, which found that House Republicans supported key environmental legislation merely five percent of the time in 2013.
The first session of the 113th congress saw 13 Senate and 28 House votes on environmental issues ranging from disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy, to safeguards against climate change, to clean water protections. House Republicans' voting scores -- which had dropped from 17 to 10 percent between 2008 and 2012 -- halved last year to the lowest they've been since the LCV started keeping track in 1970. They've mostly attributed this fall to the rise of the Tea Party.
Senate Republicans fared slightly better, with an average of 17 percent. Further illustrating the partisan split over environmental issues, House Democrats had an 87 percent pro-environment voting record, while Senate Democrats scored a resounding 92 percent.
As to the low number of environment-related votes that came to the Senate floor, the LCV credits Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for blocking the more egregious legislation brought forward by the GOP, while also noting that the fierce anti-environment minority likely prevented worthwhile legislation from being heard. And they see reason to believe that a new, more enlightened era may soon be upon us: freshman Democrats had a healthy 88 percent voting average, and 44 out of 50 of them "demonstrat[ed] their willingness to stand up to Big Oil" by voting against a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.