Politics & Government

Environmental group adds Missouri's Blunt to 'Dirty Dozen'

WASHINGTON — Rep. Roy Blunt has never been a favorite of the environmental lobby.

But now the Republican congressman from southwest Missouri has made its "Dirty Dozen."

The League of Conservation Voters Wednesday named Blunt to the 2010 version of its annual list of lawmakers "who consistently vote against the environment and are up for re-election."

The politically active group singles out candidates in races where it believes it can impact the outcome.

Blunt is running for Missouri's open Senate seat this year, one of the top contests in the country.

"Rep. Roy Blunt has taken good care of Big Oil by maintaining their costly tax breaks while voting against every opportunity to create clean energy jobs, reduce pollution and improve fuel economy for Missourians," said Tony Massaro, the league's political director.

He said that Blunt has received more than $1 million from the oil and energy industries since entering Congress 12 years ago, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Massaro also said that Blunt, among other votes, opposed: repealing subsidies to the oil industry, even as it was making record profits; the economic stimulus bill, which contained money to develop clean energy and create jobs; and public lands legislation to safeguard more wilderness and conservation areas, and more than 1,000 miles of wild and scenic rivers.

Blunt campaign spokesman Rich Chrismer said the congressman was "honored" to be on the league's list.

He said that Blunt was "proud to oppose these environmental extremists who want to kill Missouri jobs and increase taxes and appreciates the acknowledgment that he is one of the fiercest opponents of their radical agenda."

So far the league has added Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas to the "Dirty Dozen," as well as former Republican Reps. Richard Pombo of California and Steve Pearce of New Mexico. Both are running for Congress again this year.

Though the league often endorses candidates running against a member of the "Dirty Dozen," it has not yet officially backed the candidacy of the likely Democratic nominee in the Missouri Senate race, Robin Carnahan.

It did, however, hold a fundraiser for her last month in Seattle.

At the time, the National Republican Senatorial Committee called the league a "liberal fringe group" and that Carnahan "finally exposed her true colors" by having the fundraiser.

It also criticized her for "lining her campaign coffers on the other side of the country."

Both candidates have raised money from outside Missouri, a common practice in high-profile, multimillion dollar contests.

At of the end of 2009, their numbers were pretty close. Carnahan had collected 44 percent of her contributions from outside Missouri and Blunt had drawn 41 percent, according to Congressional Quarterly's MoneyLine Web site.