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Environmentalists Challenge Goolsby's Claims

Rep. Tony Goolsby

By Shelley Kofler, KERA News

Dallas – An environmental group is challenging comments State Representative Tony Goolsby of Dallas made in a recent KERA interview. The incumbent Republican is locked in a close election battle with Richardson School Board member Carole Kent. KERA's Shelley Kofler reports the group is countering Goolsby's claim that he's supported a clean environment.

In a recent profile of the House District 102 race Republican Tony Goolsby said he was proud of having supported clean environmental initiatives including alternative forms of energy, like wind and solar and nuclear.

Goolsby: "I know we're working hard with the Texas air quality. Power plants that are being built are going to add on to the nuclear which helps the fresh clean air. The new coal plants are not going to be putting out as much carbon monoxide."

The Texas League of Conservation Voters fired back saying Goolsby voted against clean air and energy bills 10 out of 13 times during the 2007 legislative session. Among the votes cited, one in favor of fast tracking coal fired power plants and giving them tax breaks; his vote to give nuclear plants property tax breaks, and Goolsby's vote against installing more air quality monitors in the Dallas area. James Canup, executive director of the conservation group says Goolsby's voting record back to 1999 has earned him an environmental rating lower than the average Texas House Republican.

Canup: "Representative Goolsby averaged a score of 24-percent. That is, of the environmental votes tracked in the Texas House only 24-percent of the time was he casting a vote in favor of the environmental community's position."

In his interview with KERA Goolsby also talked about his support of wind energy.

Goolsby: "Well, you know, Texas leads the nation in wind energy."

But Canup says the Dallas incumbent was one of only 16 House members among 150 who voted against a measure designed to fix a loophole that limited the growth of wind energy.

Canup: "When he was given the opportunity to cast a vote in favor of wind power, he didn't do it."

Two days ago we asked Goolsby to respond to the backlash from environmentalists. Today his campaign emailed a statement. It says Goolsby's support for clean air includes his backing of Boone Pickens wind plan and regional rail to get cars off the road. The campaign didn't respond to claims made about Goolsby's environmental voting record. The conservation league's political action committee has endorsed Goolsby's opponent, Carol Kent.