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The Conservation Minnesota Advocacy group downgraded dozens of legislators in its 2009 legislative scorecard released Monday.

MN conservation advocacy group docks legislators for 2009 votes

The Conservation Minnesota advocacy group downgraded dozens of state legislators in its 2009 legislative scorecard that was released Monday.

Dave Dempsey, the Minneapolis-based organization’s communications director, said only seven legislators received 100 percent approval for their votes this year on a select basket of issues including paint disposal, sustainable land use and upholding the state ban on nuclear power plant construction. That’s down from 57 legislators that scored perfectly in 2008.

“We ordered a smaller number of plaques this year,” Dempsey said. “It’s certainly indicative of a frustrating session on conservation issues for us.”

Many of the legislators who fell off their pedestals, however, didn’t take too much of a tumble. High profile lawmakers like Senate Environment Budget Chairwoman Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul, House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Chairwoman Jean Wagenius, DFL-Minneapolis, and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, had their previously perfect scores lowered due to a vote on a floor amendment related to the Green Acres farmland preservation program. Conservation Minnesota favored an amendment to repeal controversial changes to Green Acres that were enacted in 2008. Many lawmakers preferred to adjust Green Acres rather than repeal the 2008 changes.

Floor amendments in the House and Senate to repeal the state’s ban on permitting nuclear power plants also cost some lawmakers points on the scorecard. Conservation Minnesota encouraged “no” votes on lifting the nuclear ban.

Aside from the specific floor votes in the scorecard, Dempsey said Conservation Minnesota was disappointed that conservation issues in 2009 took a backseat to state budget debates.

So-called Clean Cars legislation curbing tailpipe emissions wasn’t brought up for a floor vote. Land use legislation and regulations for non-ferrous mining were also left in the dust, Dempsey said.

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