La Docena Sucia
Heather Wilson makes the Dirty Dozen list ... again
By John Bear
Eat your heart out, Eminem. Get out of the way, Lee Marvin. There’s another “Dirty Dozen” in town, and Congresswoman Heather Wilson is among its ranks. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) named Wilson to its “Dirty Dozen” list, a report put out by the organization every federal election cycle that pinpoints the 12 federal-level politicians who shun the environment and are the most in favor of deregulating big industry. The LCV began publishing its “Dirty Dozen” list more than three decades ago.
Wilson, with an LCV Congressional score of 22 percent this year and a lifetime average of 16 percent, joins fellow Reps. Richard Pombo (CA), Katherine Harris (FL) and Bob Ney (OH), along with Sens. Rick Santorum (PA), Conrad Burns (MT) and Jim Talent (MO).
Referred to as the “Oil Slick Seven” by the LCV, these seven join former Rep. Tom Delay and Rep. Henry Cuellar, both of Texas. The remaining slots are yet to be filled. According to the LCV, all of these representatives and senators are in the pockets of big oil companies.
Maggie Toulouse, Southwest field campaign manager for LCV, says two factors are involved when deciding who makes the Dirty Dozen. First, a consortium of environmental groups from around the country meet and compile politicians' votes for or against environmental issues. If a representative or senator scores “abysmally,” he or she becomes a candidate.
Second, a politician's chances at making the list improve if he or she resides in a district where he or she could potentially be unseated by a more environmentally conscious candidate. Toulouse says Wilson’s opponent, Attorney General Patricia Madrid, fits the description of a “potential environmental champion.”
“Patricia Madrid has been wonderful on the environment during her time as attorney general,” Toulouse says. “She has the potential to do it in Congress.”
Wilson’s office was contacted but did not comment by the time this article went to print.
Toulouse says this will be the third time Wilson has made the Dirty Dozen, adding that one of the reasons Wilson is on the list is because she sides with oil companies that fund her campaigns rather than the constituents she represents. In fact, according to LCV, Wilson has accepted $396,370 in oil and gas contributions throughout the course of her career.
“One major issue we tend to look at is gas prices,” she says. “Families are suffering at the gas pump. She had opportunities to help on several occasions, like [with] the energy bill last year which subsidizes extremely profitable oil companies like Exxon and Chevron to make record profits while prices continue to skyrocket. A vote against the energy bill would have helped constituents.”
Wilson voted for the energy bill.
LCV will be conducting a grassroots campaign to unseat Wilson in the November election. The campaign will include television and radio spots and door-to-door canvassing, which Toulouse calls the “linchpin” of the campaign.
If she wins the election, Wilson will begin her fifth term in office. Toulouse says Wilson is good at painting herself as an independent candidate, when in reality she usually sides with President Bush and her fellow Republicans in Congress.
“Wilson is an adept campaigner,” she says. “She's really been able to convince voters she is independent and moderate. She cites the rare and specific occasions she votes against Bush and Republicans.” Toulouse says Wilson votes along party lines about 98 percent of the time.
Wilson's Recent Environmental Voting Record
• Voted for Energy Bill, House Roll Call Vote 132, April 21, 2005
• Voted for Oil Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, House Roll Call Vote 122, April 20, 2005; House Roll Call Vote 149, April 28, 2005; House Roll Call Vote 666, Dec. 19, 2005
• Voted against increased fuel efficiency standards, House Roll Call Vote 121, April 20, 2005
• Voted against amendment requiring manufacturers of MTBE to clean up after themselves, House Roll Call Vote 129, April 21, 2005.
• Voted against Royalty Relief limits for Oil Companies, House Roll Call Vote 167, May 18, 2006
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