Environment

Zeldin receives low grade from League of Conservation Voters

The League of Conservation Voters, which advocates for environmental issues nationally and rates elected official on how they respond to them, has given 1st District Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) one of its lowest grades.

The group’s 2020 ratings of House of Representatives members shows Mr. Zeldin received a 24% rating, meaning on issues important to the League he had a pro-environment record only 24% of the time. The statewide average for House members was 86%, with two-thirds of the New York delegation scoring 100%. That rating brought Mr. Zeldin to the lowest rank among the state delegation.

Oddly, included in the list of legislation used in the League’s rating of Mr. Zeldin, according to the League’s website, were his no votes on issues such as statehood for the District of Columbia, last year’s Heroes Act and, according to the League, Mr. Zeldin’s no vote on a bill to remove Confederate statues — none of which have anything to do with the environment.

However, the group noted Mr. Zeldin’s lack of support for legislation phasing out harmful fishing gear, along with legislation around climate change, protecting Western wilderness and marine mammals to reach its rating.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Zeldin sent a list of the congressman’s pro-environment votes, including his successful effort to remove Plum Island from the ‘for sale’ list by the federal government. 

The spokeswoman listed other votes by Mr. Zeldin on environmental issues, including his securing funding for Long Island Sound cleanup and funding for the National Estuary Program; his support for the region’s maritime infrastructure, including emergency dredging and the $1 billion Fire Island to Montauk project; his opposition to offshore drilling; and his securing of more than $500 million in funds for the region’s Sea Grant Program, which helps fishermen and those working in the growing aquaculture industry.

In a statement, Julie Tighe, the president of the New York chapter of the League of Conservation Voters, said, “We are proud to have representatives that will fight for our future. So many of the New York congressional delegation stood up for our health and our environment. They are working every day to protect our air, water, land, and wildlife for all New Yorkers.”