The environmental values of North Carolina's legislators sank to a 12-year low in 2011, the N.C. League of Conservation Voters said today in an annual ranking.
Bills that aimed to limit regulations, cut spending by environmental agencies and expand drilling for oil and gas made it "clear this new legislature had environmental protections in their cross hairs," the advocacy group said in releasing its Conservation Scorecard.
Green-friendly scores plummeted as Republicans took control of both bodies for the first time in a century. The average score for the N.C. House in 2011 was 43 percent, the League said, compared to 67 percent in the previous session. The Senate averaged 27 percent, down from 69 percent in the 2009-10 session.
Incoming freshmen showed even starker differences with legislators they replaced. New House members averaged a score of 35 percent, compared to the 73 percent lifetime average of outgoing legislators. Senate freshmen averaged 18 percent, their predecessors 70 percent.
Legislators reconvene for this year's "short session," which is limited to measures that affect the state budget or passed one body the previous year, in May.