In just two terms in Congress, Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) has already racked up more than 100 anti-environment votes, according to the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). Her lifetime LCV score is a dismal 4 percent.
Among the more than 100 anti-environment votes, Walters has voted to expand oil drilling in the arctic, slashed funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and rejected efforts to help prevent lead poisoning in homes.
As a way to provide cover for her poor voting record, Walters joined the House Climate Solutions Caucus. At the time she joined, her LCV score was 5 percent. Since joining, her record on climate issues has gotten worse, falling to 4 percent.
The House Climate Solutions Caucus is to many a misnomer. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), an energetic climate action advocate, recently described it as a “do-nothing caucus.”
According to ThinkProgress, Whitehouse is frustrated at the caucus, which refuses to take any meaningful action. “Resolutions are nice, but this [climate change] is an actual, physical problem in the chemistry and atmospheric science of our planet. And resolutions don’t affect any of that,” Whitehouse said recently.
Mother Jones investigated the issue, and noted, “[C]ritics charge the caucus has expanded its size at the expense of its credibility, providing Republicans who have been actively hostile to government programs a low-stakes opportunity to ‘greenwash’ their climate credentials without backing meaningful action — just in time for midterm elections.”
Walters looks to be using it that way. In addition to her voting record, she’s been an outspoken proponent of more oil drilling off the California coast. Walters has also received more than $175,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry.
Constituents are bringing attention to Walters’ record on the environment with protests and activism. In a rapidly-changing district, which supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, Walters has plenty to worry about.
Attempting to hide her dismal environmental record behind the thin veneer of a “do-nothing caucus” is simply disingenuous, and it won’t fool voters.