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Hart, O'Connell Score High on Environment


A statewide coalition of environmental groups has awarded two county Democratic legislators high scores for their votes on the environment.

The California League of Conservation Voters also ranked three Republicans from Ventura County among the worst of state legislators.

The league praised state Sen. Gary K. Hart (D-Santa Barbara) and Assemblyman Jack O'Connell (D-Carpinteria) for voting to protect the environment. O'Connell scored 94% of the possible points for his votes on such issues as recycling, conservation, wildlife habitat protection, clean air and toxic laws.

The league gave Hart, who has announced he will retire from the Senate next year, a 100% rating.

Scores of 0 went to former Assemblyman Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks), who lost his election bid for Congress, and state Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley).

As an assemblywoman last year, Wright received 15 points.

The league, which chooses the bills in consultation with the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, also rated Assemblywoman Paula L. Boland (R-Granada Hills) with a 0 score.

"There seems to be a growing divide between the Democrats and Republicans and it's not based on party affiliation," said David Allgood, Southern California regional director for the league.

"It's based on ideology and people who are willing to sacrifice the health of our environment."

A spokeswoman for Wright on Thursday called the league's environmental score card subjective.

Catherine Morrison, Wright's chief of staff in Sacramento, said the senator had supported bills regulating hazardous waste where the environment is a factor.

"Senator Wright has been at the forefront of trying to balance the needs of business and the needs of our environment," Morrison said. "What this group has done is pick a series of bills and said, 'This person is not friendly to them,' ignoring what that individual might be doing in another area."

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