8 lawmakers receive
perfect eco-scores

The local Sierra Club assesses
their stands on the environment

Star-Bulletin staff

Eight state lawmakers received perfect scores for their support of environmental legislation over the past two years.

The Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter, released last week its legislative scorecard that showed how the Legislature fared on environmental issues during the 2001-2002 sessions.

Jeff Mikulina, chapter director, said the scorecard presents a clear picture of how state lawmakers voted in important issues.

He said members and the public should use the report card as a tool to hold elected officials accountable.

The scorecard showed eight state representatives -- Democrats Hermina Morita, Blake Oshiro (Red Hill-Aiea), Brian Schatz (Makiki-Tantalus-Manoa), Helene Hale (Kau-Puna), Marilyn Lee (Mililani-Waipio), Scott Saiki (McCully-Moiliili) and Roy Takumi (Pearl City-Waipahu) and lone Republican Cynthia Thielen (Kailua-Kaneohe) -- all got 100 percent scores.

Morita (D, Northeast Maui-Northeast Kauai) was relentless in her advocacy for clean-energy reforms and the bottle bill legislation, Mikulina said.

Republican state Rep. Joe Gomes received a 0 percent score because he opposed bills on carbon dioxide regulation, an environmental review bill and disposal surcharge.

Gomes, however, said he is comfortable with the votes he cast during his first term as a legislator.

He also said he has been involved in several environmental issues in his Waimanalo district, including cleanups, beach erosion and the removal of abandoned cars.

"Why did Sierra Club choose to ignore my environmental work in the community?" Gomes said.

Rep. Paul Whalen (South Kona-North Kona), another Republican, improved the most, increasing his grade to 88 percent in 2001-2002 from 52 percent in the 1999-2000 sessions.

Republican state Rep. Mark Moses' (Kunia-Makakilo-Ewa) grade dropped the most in that period, to 13 percent from 40 percent.

While there were no perfect scores in the Senate, both Democrats Kalani English (Wailuku-Kahului-Upcountry Maui) and Bob Nakata (Kaneohe-Kahuku) had the highest scores with 88 percent each.

Sen. Carol Fukunaga (D, Tantalus-Makiki) improved the most since 1999, to 86 percent from 60 percent.

Sen. David Matsuura (D, South Hilo-Puna) saw his grade fall the most during that period, to 25 percent from 63 percent.

"Residents are concerned with protection of Hawaii's environment, but to them what happens at the state Capitol is just too confusing or too distant from their everyday lives," Mikulina said.

"We hope this scorecard will serve as a tool to judge how well their views are being represented by their lawmakers."

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