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Rockefeller lauded, Woods chided by ‘green’ lobby

A state environmental lobbying group this week gave local legislators one of the best – and one of the worst – report cards in the state.

Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island) was one of six senators to earn the Washington Conservation Voters’ “Environmental Champion” award, topping the group’s “legislative scorecard” with a 100 percent rating.

Rockefeller’s 23rd Legislative District colleague, Rep. Beverly Woods, did not fare nearly as well.

The Kingston Republican was hit with one the WCV’s lowest ratings – 23 percent – and was designated as one of the House’s four most “out of step” representatives on environmental issues.

Woods disputed the WCV’s rating, calling it both inaccurate and unfair.

WCV scored legislators on how they voted on a dozen or so pro-environment bills during the 2005 and 2006 Legislative sessions. The scorecard is aimed at “recognizing legislators who are conservation champions and calls out those who fail to represent the public interest by voting against air, land and water protections in the state,” said WCV spokeswoman Jill Wasberg.

“Phil Rockefeller is a true champion of the environment,” said WCV lobbyist Clifford Traisman. “He was critical in the passage of the car emissions bill and has been instrumental in a cleaner Puget Sound. Time and time again, he has stepped up for the interests of his district.”

Rockefeller sponsored a bill in the Senate that patterned the state’s auto emissions standards after California laws. The bill was aimed at putting more cleaner-burning, fuel-efficient cars on Washington roads by 2009.

The bill was signed into law by Gov. Christine Gregoire last month, with Oregon passing a companion measure shortly after. Proponents believe the new law will cut emissions in cars and light trucks by 25 percent and by 18 percent in SUVs.

Rockefeller took the news of his high WCV scorecard rating with humility.

“I know I’m just one in a bunch of people working hard on environmental issues,” he said. “Clean air, clean water, clean places to live are pretty darn important to everybody.”

But not to Woods, says WCV.

“You look at your district – the values there – and it doesn’t make sense that she has such a terrible record on the environment,” Traisman said. “She was designated one of the few (House) members clearly out of step with her district, where people care deeply about clean air, land and water.”

Woods’ 23 percent rating put her far below most of her fellow House Republicans, who typically scored over 50 percent and sometimes as high as 90 percent.

WCV charges that Woods was a leader in the fight against the auto emissions bill and opposed ecologically friendly building design proposals and a recycling initiative for electronic equipment.

But Woods contends the WCV misrepresented her vote on at least three House measures involving improved septic systems, water permitting and public transportation.

She also charges that WCV did not take into account her support of a sustainable building design Senate bill that she initially opposed in its House form.

“They’re trying to distort the voting records of members,” she said. “I wish they would do the report card honestly, upfront and correctly.”

By Woods’ estimate, she should have scored a 54 on the card.

“I am a good steward of the environment and I represent my district very well on environmental issues,” she said. “That’s why they keep electing me.”

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