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Pete Altman’s Blog

A Clear Choice: Public Opinion vs Polluters

Pete Altman

Posted April 1, 2011 in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming

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As NRDC's President Frances Beinecke blogged today, President Obama is facing a key leadership moment which could determine whether we protect public health or allow polluters to dump unsafe levels of pollution into our air.

As Frances notes,

While the White House reaffirmed its opposition to policy riders on the spending bill, it did not make clear whether the President would use his veto pen if a bill with riders comes to his desk.

We need that clarity.

And the public deserves that clarity. As Frances notes, polling in congressional districts in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin has demonstrated that across the board, Democrats, Republicans and Independents support clean air, EPA decision-making on pollution, and reducing carbon pollution.

In Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin constituents say EPA, not Congress, should decide pollution limits

For example, when we asked whether Congress or experts at the EPA should make decisions about what pollution limits are needed, respondents are consistently and overwhelmingly in support of EPA making these decisions, not Congress:

Some say that our elected representatives in Congress should decide what pollution limits are needed, not government bureaucrats, while others say that scientists at the EPA should decide what pollution limits are needed, not politicians. With which viewpoint do you agree more?

  • In Michigan districts, 76% of the respondents said the EPA should decide, including 73% of Independents.
  • In Ohio districts, 71% of the respondents said the EPA should decide, including 65% of Independents.
  • In Pennsylvania districts, 79% of the respondents said the EPA should decide, including 72% of Independents. 
  • In Wisconsin districts, 75% of the respondents said the EPA should decide, including 68% of Independents.
  • In Illinois districts, 77% of the respondents said the EPA should decide, including 75% of Independents.
  • In Minnesota districts, 73% of the respondents said the EPA should decide, including 69% of Independents.
  • In Virginia districts, 77% of the respondents said the EPA should decide, including 73% of Independents.

In Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin constituents say Congress should let EPA do its job when it comes to protecting public health from carbon pollution

When we asked whether carbon pollution shoudl be reduced, we got clear yesses:

Some special interests say Congress should step in and prevent the EPA from limiting carbon dioxide pollution. For example, the head of the America Petroleum Institute says Congress should decide when and how greenhouse gases should be regulated. But other public interest groups say Congress should let EPA do its job. The head of the American Public Health Association says that blocking the EPA’s work to reduce carbon pollution could mean the difference between a healthy life for many Americans or battling chronic debilitating illness. Which view do you support?

  • In Michigan districts, 68% of the respondents support limiting carbon pollution from big power plants and other industrial facilities, including 64% of Independents.
  • In Ohio districts, 64% of the respondents support limiting carbon pollution from big power plants and other industrial facilities, including 57% of Independents.
  • In Pennsylvania districts, 72% of the respondents support limiting carbon pollution from big power plants and other industrial facilities, including 65% of Independents.
  • In Wisconsin districts, 68% of the respondents support limiting carbon pollution from big power plants and other industrial facilities, including 63% of Independents.
  • In Illinois districts, 70% of the respondents support limiting carbon pollution from big power plants and other industrial facilities, including 65% of Independents.
  • In Minnesota districts, 69% of the respondents support limiting carbon pollution from big power plants and other industrial facilities, including 64% of Independents.
  • In Virginia districts, 68% of the respondents support limiting carbon pollution from big power plants and other industrial facilities, including 72% of Independents.

In Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin constituents support reducing carbon pollution.

When asked directly whether they support cleaning up carbon pollution, respondents again are consistently in support of cleanup:

Here is some more information on the air pollution standards the EPA is bringing up to date. Please tell me if you favor or oppose each of the following. How about limiting the amount of carbon pollution that big power plants and other industrial facilities release?

  • In Michigan districts, 72% of the respondents said Congress should let EPA do its job, including 66% of Independents.
  • In Ohio districts, 67% of the respondents said Congress should let EPA do its job, including 59% of Independents.
  • In Pennsylvania districts, 76% of the respondents said Congress should let EPA do its job, including 66% of Independents.
  • In Wisconsin districts, 70% of the respondents said Congress should let EPA do its job, including 63% of Independents.
  • In Illinois districts, 74% of the respondents said Congress should let EPA do its job, including 68% of Independents.
  • In Minnesota districts, 71% of the respondents said Congress should let EPA do its job, including 64% of Independents.
  • In Virginia districts, 75% of the respondents said Congress should let EPA do its job, including 71% of Independents.

 

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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