Dirty dozens: Who to vote out this November

Want to cast a vote for the outdoors? Vote out candidates that vote against clean air and water.
ted cruz flag
Texas sportsmen can help vote out dirty dozener Ted Cruz, who has one of the most anti-clean air and water voting records in congress. Cruz is unexpectedly in a competitive race against insurgent candidate Beto O'Rourke in Texas (photo: Gage Skidmore / cc2.0).

With a few notable exceptions, outdoor publications and especially the "hook-and-bullet" press (publications targeted primarily at anglers and hunters) tell their readers what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.

As with sportsmen writing and editing hook-and-bullet articles, sportsmen reading them tend to be politically naïve and easily seduced by their worst enemies.

Case study: I terminated my fleeting career as Outdoor Life's field editor when my bosses helped re-elect Alaska Representative Don Young by profiling him as a "fearless" champion of "the sportsman's life" and "your kind of politician [who] fights the good fight." Young, arguably the most vicious enemy of fish and wildlife in Congress, "fights the good fight" for projects like Pebble Mine.

Without sportsmen we would not have suffered eight years of George W. Bush, whose administration waged sustained war on fish, wildlife, science, clean water and clean air. Trump, even worse, wouldn't be in power had it not been for support of some sportsmen and apathy of others.

Sportsmen are often impressed less by deeds (i.e., votes) than by gushing words about their sport and photo ops in which a candidate flounces around with a borrowed fishing rod or firearm, pretending to be one of them.

Now and then a major hook-and-bullet magazine briefly gets religion by hiring reporters like Mike Frome, who wrote the monthly conservation column for Field & Stream in the early 1970s.

Frome's "Rate Your Candidate" ran before each election. Politicians who earned low scores -- like Sen. John Pastore (D-RI), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications -- complained bitterly. That subcommittee regulated broadcasting; and Field & Stream was owned by CBS.

In 1974 then editor, Jack Samson, fired Frome, falsely claiming he was "anti-hunting."

Reporting on the firing, Time magazine quoted Field & Stream's previous editor, Clare Conley, who had supported Frome, as declaring, "We got vibes from CBS that they didn't want trouble with Pastore. The word was 'Do what you have to do, but take it easy.'"

"Taking it easy" should never be the style of a decent journalist, and it wasn't Frome's. So, as Time reported, he "lost his biggest platform."

In the 1990s I wrote a column modeled on Frome's "Rate Your Candidate" for Fly Rod & Reel. We got blitzed with nastygrams from anti-environmental readers and candidates. But our publisher and editors never flinched. Fly Rod & Reel (now belly-up) was one of those notable exceptions.

For that column I received help from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which lamented to me that selecting its "Dirty Dozen" list was difficult because there were so many 0s on an environmental voting record of 0 to 100 percent.

At Fly Rod & Reel our solution was to add an "s" to "Dozen."

LCV gets accused (especially by low-scoring politicians) of being infested with leftists. While conservatives are scarce among environmental groups represented on the League's board, that doesn't gainsay the accuracy of LCV's scorecard. A vote is a vote, and by those votes a candidate says everything about himself or herself. There's no help from LCV.

The 2017 LCV scorecard is based on such votes as: opposition to the Stream Protection Rule, confirmation of Scott Pruitt to head EPA, confirmation of Ryan Zinke to head Interior, weakening the Clean Air Act, weakening the Clean Water Act, weakening the Endangered Species Act, attack on wilderness, attack on national forests, trashing protections for Chesapeake Bay, placing public lands in private hands.

Voting for fish, wildlife and the outdoors means voting for candidates who have proven themselves by supporting clean water, clean air, healthy climate, native ecosystems and public ownership of public lands. And it means voting against candidates who have opposed any or all of these measures, despite their rhetoric about fishing, hunting and gun rights.

Consider just the vote to repeal the Stream Protection Rule. The rule was implemented by the Obama administration after coal companies had blown up about 500 mountains in Appalachia, buried at least 2,000 miles of stream with rubble and toxic slush and poisoned thousands more with acid. It mandated restoration of the "physical form, hydrologic function, and ecological function" of streams after mountains are destroyed. And it prohibited companies from obliterating streams by bulldozing mountain remains into them. The rule protected at least 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests.

Because the rule was finalized near the end of the Obama administration, Congress was able to repeal it via the Congressional Review Act with just a majority vote in House and Senate.

There's not an inch of wiggle room for legislators who voted to abolish the Stream Protection Rule. For these candidates there is no excuse or absolution; and any real angler who votes for one this November is either inattentive or self-destructive.

So here, based on their successful opposition to protecting streams, is the first batch of Hatch Magazine's Dirty Dozens:

Voting to repeal the Stream Protection Rule in the Senate

Shelby, AL; Murkowski and Sullivan, AK; Flake and McCain (deceased), AZ; Boozman and Cotton, AR; Gardner, CO; Rubio, FL; Isakson and Perdue, GA; Crapo and Risch, ID; Donnelly and Young, IN; Ernst and Grassley, IA; Moran and Roberts, KS; McConnell and Paul, KY; Cassidy and J. Kennedy, LA; Cochran and Wicker, MS; Blunt and MCaskill, MO; Daines, MT; Fischer and Sasse, NE; Heller, NV; Burr and Tillis, NC; Heitkap and Hoeven, ND; Portman, OH; Inhofe and Lankford, OK; Toomey, PA; Graham and Scott, SC; Rounds and Thune, SD; Alexander and Corker; TN; Cornyn and Cruz, TX; Hatch and M. Lee, UT; VA, Capito and Manchin, WV; Johnson, WI; Barrasso and Enzi, WY.

west virginia coal mining stream pollution
In West Virginia's coal country, a stream polluted by acid-mine drainage flows into a clear water stream. Most dirty dozeners voted to weaken the Clean Water Act and repeal the Stream Protection Rule that was protecting 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests from mountaintop-removal coal mining. (photo: Vivian Stockman, ohvec.org).

Voting to repeal the Stream Protection Rule in the House

Byrne and Roby, Rogers M., Aderholt, Brooks M., Palmer, AL; Young, AK; McSally, Gosar, Biggs, Schweikert, Franks, AZ; Crawford, Hill, Womack, Westerman, AR; LaMalfa, McClintock, Cook, Denham, Costa, Valadao, Nunes, McCarthy, Knight, Royce, Calvert, Walters, Rohrabacher, Issa, Hunter, CA; Tipton, Buck, Lamborn, Coffman, CO; Gaetz, Dunn, Yoho, Rutherford, Desantis, Posey, Webster, Bilirakis, Ross, Buchanan, Rooney T., Mast, Rooney F., Diaz-Balart, FL; Carter, Bishop, S., Ferguson, Woodall, Scott, A., Collins, D., Hice, Loudermilk, Allen, Graves T., GA; Labrador, Simpson, ID; Roskam, Bost, Davis R., Hultgren, Shimkus, Kinzinger, LaHood, IL; Walorski, Banks, Rokita, Brooks S., Bucshon, Hollingsworth, IN; Blum, Young, D., King, S., IA; Marshall, Jenkins L., Yoder, KS; Comer, Guthrie, Massie, Rogers H., Barr, KY; Scalise, Higgins C., Johnson M., Abraham, Graves G., LA; Harris A., MD; Bergman, Huizenga, Amash, Moolenaar, Upton, Walberg, Bishop M., Mitchell, Trott, MI; Lewis, J., Paulsen, Emmer, Peterson, MN; Kelly T., Harper, Palazzo, MS; Wagner, Luetkemeyer, Hartzler, Graves S., Long, Smith J., MO; Fortenberry, Bacon, Smith A., NE; Amodei, NV; MacArthur, Lance, Frelinghuysen, NJ; Pearce, NM; Zeldin, King P., Donovan, Faso, Stefanik, Tenney, Reed T., Katko, Collins C., NY; Holding, Jones, Foxx, Rouzer, Hudson, Pittenger, McHenry, Meadows, Budd, NC; Cramer A., ND; Chabot,Wenstrup, Jordan, Latta, Johnson B., Gibbs, Davidson, Turner, Tiberi, Joyce, Stivers, Renacci, OH; Bridenstine, Mullin, Lucas, Cole, Russell, OK; Walden, OR; Kelly M., Perry, Thompson G., Costello, Meehan, Shuster, Marino, Barletta, Rothfus, Dent, Smucker, Murphy T., PA; Wilson J., Duncan J., Gowdy, Rice T., SC; Noem A., SD; Roe, Duncan J., Fleischmann, DesJarlais, Black D., Blackburn M., Kustoff, TN; Gohmert, Poe, Johnson S., Ratcliffe, Hensarling, Barton, Culberson, Brady K., McCaul, Conaway, Granger, Thornberry, Weber, Flores, Arrington, Smith L., Olson, Hurd, Marchant, Williams, Burgess, Farenthold, Cueller, Carter J., Sessions, Babin, TX; Bishop R., Stewart, Chaffetz, Love, UT; Wittman, Garrett, Goodlatte, Brat, Griffith, Comstock, VA; Newhouse, McMorris R., WA; McKinley, Mooney, Jenkins E., WV; Sensenbrenner, Grothman, Duffy, Gallagher, WI; Cheney, WY.

Many sportsmen who voted for George W. Bush and Trump based their decisions at least in part on the NRA scorecard. If they had compared that scorecard with LCV's, they might have realized that candidates who puff and blow about hunting and gun rights are not necessarily friends of sportsmen.

Here are some of the senators who received "A" ratings from the NRA for 2017: (LCV 2017 conservation voting scores appear in parentheses): Shelby, AL (0); Flake, AZ (0); Boozman, AR (0); Isakson, GA (0); Crapo (0), Risch (0), ID; Donnelly, IN (63); Grassley, IA (0); Moran (0), Roberts (0), KS; McConnell, KY(0); Blunt, MO (0); Fisher, NE (0); Heller, NV (0); Burr, NC (0); Heitkamp (58), Hoeven (0), ND; Portman, OH (0); Inhofe, OK (0); Toomey, PA (0); Graham (5), Scott (0), SC; Thune, SD (0); Alexander (5), Corker (5), TN; Cornyn (0), Cruz (0), TX; Hatch (0), Lee (0), UT; Manchin, WV (47); R. Johnson, WI (0); Barrasso (0), Enzi (0), WY.

Every one of these A-rated NRA heroes voted to repeal the Stream Protection Rule.

Additional Dirty Dozens

Senate members earning 2017 LCV conservation voting scores of zero percent

ALABAMA Shelby · Strange · ALASKA Murkowski · Sullivan · ARIZONA Flake · ARKANSAS Boozman · Cotton · COLORADO Gardner · FLORIDA Rubio · GEORGIA Isakson · Perdue · IDAHO Crapo · Risch · INDIANA Young · IOWA Ernst · Grassley · KANSAS Moran · Roberts · KENTUCKY McConnell · LOUISIANA Cassidy · Kennedy · MISSISSIPPI Cochran · Wicker · MISSOURI Blunt · MONTANA Daines · NEBRASKA Fischer · Sasse · NEVADA Heller · NORTH CAROLINA Burr · Tillis · NORTH DAKOTA Hoeven · OHIO Portman · OKLAHOMA Inhofe · Lankford · PENNSYLVANIA Toomey · SOUTH CAROLINA Scott · SOUTH DAKOTA Rounds · Thune · TEXAS Cornyn · Cruz · UTAH Hatch · Lee · WEST VIRGINIA Capito · WISCONSIN Johnson · WYOMING Barrasso · Enzi

rick scott governor
Florida's toxic, blue-green algae disaster which has closed beaches, resulted in massive fish kills and potentially visited grave impacts on Florida's tourist economy, is thanks in no small part to its climate change-denying, scandal-plagued Gov. Rick Scott, whose administration has worked tirelessly to kowtow to its major funder, Big Sugar. Scott is now running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent senator Bill Nelson, a fish and wildlife hero (photo: Gage Skidmore / cc 2.0).

Florida Governor Rick Scott didn't get a 2017 LCV voting score because he was not in Congress. But LCV has created a special category for him. It has named him the first member of its "signature Dirty Dozen list for 2018." Scott is now running for congress, against incumbent U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, a fish-and-wildlife hero with a 2017 LCV voting score of 95.

Scott is a climate-change denier who has banned the word "climate change" from state government communications. He has helped facilitate Florida's toxic-algae disaster by playing sock-puppet to his major funder, Big Sugar, and by slashing $700 million from state water management.

As the Tampa Bay Times accurately reported: "Scott has bulldozed a record of environmental protection that his Republican and Democratic predecessors spent decades building. He weakened the enforcement of environmental laws and cut support for clean water, conservation and other programs. He simultaneously made it easier for the biggest polluters and private industries to degrade the state's natural resources. While [Scott] attempts to transform himself into an environmentalist during his re-election campaign, his record reflects a callous disregard for the state's natural resources and no understanding of how deeply Floridians care about their state's beauty and treasures."

florida blue green algae fish kill
Florida's water quality crisis has caused massive fish kills, like this one three miles south of Flamingo, which result from low dissolved oxygen caused by nutrient overloading and the resulting decomposition of algae (photo: Peter Frezza).

As with Scott, Matt Rosendale -- Montana's auditor -- didn't get an LCV voting score because he's not in Congress. But LCV has also named him to its 2018 signature Dirty Dozen list for his strident advocacy of what he calls "outright return" of federal lands to the state, as if the state ever had them. Rosendale is running for the U.S. Senate against public-lands hero Sen. Jon Tester (2017 LCV voting score 84).

House members earning 2017 LCV conservation voting scores of zero percent

ALABAMA Byrne · Roby · Rogers, M. · Aderholt · Palmer · ALASKA Young, Don · ARIZONA Gosar · Schweikert · Franks · ARKANSAS Crawford · Womack · Westerman · CALIFORNIA LaMalfa · McClintock · Hunter · COLORADO Lamborn · FLORIDA Posey · Bilirakis · Ross · Rooney, F. · GEORGIA Carter, E.L. · Ferguson · Handel · Scott, A. · Collins, D. · Hice · Loudermilk · Allen · IDAHO Labrador · ILLINOIS Hultgren · LaHood · INDIANA Walorski · Banks · IOWA Blum · King, S. · KANSAS Marshall · Yoder · Estes · KENTUCKY Guthrie · Barr · LOUISIANA Higgins, C. · Johnson, M. · Abraham · MICHIGAN Huizenga · Walberg · MINNESOTA Lewis, Jason · Emmer · MISSISSIPPI Kelly, T. · Harper · Palazzo · MISSOURI Wagner · Luetkemeyer · Graves, S. · Long · Smith, J. · NEBRASKA Smith, Adrian · NORTH CAROLINA Holding · Foxx · Walker · Hudson · Pittenger · McHenry · Meadows · Budd · NORTH DAKOTA Cramer · OHIO Chabot · Wenstrup · Jordan · Latta · Johnson, B. · Gibbs · Davidson · Tiberi · Renacci · OKLAHOMA Mullin · Russell · PENNSYLVANIA Kelly, M. · Perry · Shuster · SOUTH CAROLINA Wilson, J. · Duncan, Jeff · Gowdy · Norman · SOUTH DAKOTA Noem · TENNESSEE Fleischmann · DesJarlais · Black · Blackburn · Kustoff · TEXAS Poe · Johnson, S. · Ratcliffe · Hensarling · McCaul · Conaway · Granger · Thornberry · Weber · Flores · Arrington · Smith, L. · Olson · Marchant · Williams · Burgess · Farenthold · Carter, J. · Sessions · Babin · UTAH Bishop, R. · Stewart · Chaffetz · Curtis · VIRGINIA Goodlatte · Brat · Griffith · WASHINGTON Newhouse · McMorris Rodgers · WEST VIRGINIA McKinley · Mooney · Jenkins · WISCONSIN Grothman · Duffy · WYOMING Cheney

rob bishop representative
Rep. Rob Bishop has a lifetime conservation voting score of 2, has worked tirelessly to permanently defeat the wildly successful Land and Water Conservation fund and is one of the leaders of the anti-public lands movement in America (photo: AFGE / cc2.0).

Dirty Dozener Rob Bishop of Utah, who earned a 2017 conservation voting score of 0, is in a class by himself for leading the charge in Congress for state seizure of public lands. He absolutely must go.


Senate members earning 2017 LCV conservation voting scores of 100

CALIFORNIA Feinstein · Harris · CONNECTICUT Blumenthal · HAWAII Hirono · Schatz · ILLINOIS Duckworth · Durbin · MARYLAND Cardin · Van Hollen · MASSACHUSETTS Warren · MICHIGAN Peters · MINNESOTA Franken (no longer in office) · Klobuchar · NEW HAMPSHIRE Hassan · Shaheen · NEW JERSEY Booker · NEW YORK Gillibrand · Schumer · OREGON Merkley · PENNSYLVANIA Casey · RHODE ISLAND Reed · Whitehouse · VERMONT Leahy · Sanders · WASHINGTON Cantwell · Murray · WISCONSIN Baldwin

While Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico didn't quite make it to 100, (2017 LCV score 95), he also deserves hero status for his passionate and courageous defense of fish, wildlife and public lands.

House members earning 2017 LCV conservation voting scores of 100

ARIZONA Grijalva · CALIFORNIA Huffman · Matsui · Bera · DeSaulnier · Lee, B. · Speier · Eshoo · Lofgren · Carbajal · Brownley · Chu · Schiff · Sherman · Aguilar · Ruiz · Sánchez · Takano · Vargas · Davis, S. · COLORADO Polis · Perlmutter · CONNECTICUT Himes · Esty · FLORIDA Soto · GEORGIA Lewis · ILLINOIS Kelly · Lipinski · Krishnamoorthi · Schakowsky · Schneider · Foster · INDIANA Visclosky · KENTUCKY Yarmuth · MAINE Pingree · MARYLAND Ruppersberger · Sarbanes · Brown · Delaney · Raskin · MASSACHUSETTS Neal · McGovern · Moulton · Capuano · Lynch · Keating · MICHIGAN Levin · Dingell · Lawrence · MINNESOTA McCollum · Ellison · NEVADA Titus · NEW HAMPSHIRE Shea-Porter · NEW JERSEY Pallone · NEW MEXICO Lujan Grisham · Luján · NEW YORK Rice, K. · Meng · Velázquez · Nadler · Crowley · Lowey · Tonko · Higgins · NORTH CAROLINA Price, D. · Adams · OHIO Beatty · Fudge · OREGON Bonamici · Blumeanauer · DeFazio · RHODE ISLAND Cicilline · Langevin · TENNESSEE Cooper · Cohen · TEXAS Green, A. · O'Rourke · Castro · VIRGINIA Scott, R. · Beyer · Connolly · WASHINGTON Kilmer · Heck · WISCONSIN Moore.

I urge Hatch Magazine readers to help defeat public enemies of fish and wildlife who will be running for Congress in November.

When we usher them into unemployment let us give each the benediction Hamlet gave Polonius after he shish-kebabbed him on his sword: "Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!"

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Great article. I'm still trying to figure out how Big Sugar and Climate change are in the same conversation however. Two separate subjects albeit , two lousy issues.