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02/03/2011 04:29 PM     print story email story  

Poll: Americans Don't Want EPA Handcuffed or Eliminated News

77% of Americans, including 61% of Republicans say they want Congress to let the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do its job.

A clear majority of Americans oppose efforts in Congress to block Clean Air Act regulations of carbon, smog and other pollution, according to a national opinion survey by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) International for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). 

The poll is being released just as a major House/Senate bill is introduced in Congress to kill the authority of the EPA to continue its work on updating key anti-pollution safeguards.

Conducted in response to former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich's call on January 25th to dismantle the EPA, the 1,007-person survey also finds that 67% of Americans, including 61% of Republicans - oppose any move to abolish the EPA. 

"The bottom line is clear:  Democrats, Republicans and Independents want politicians to protect the health of America's children rather than the profit-driven agenda of big polluters" said Pete Altman, Climate Campaign director, Natural Resources Defense Council. "People get that the EPA is dedicated to protecting public health and want Congress to let the agency do its job."

"Chairman Upton's bill, which is expected to block the EPA from updating the Clean Air Act to limit carbon pollution, puts our nation's health at risk," said Health Care Without Harm's Climate Policy Coordinator Brenda Afzal, MS, RN. "Leading health organizations and experts consider carbon pollution to be a wide-ranging threat to public health, which contributes to the same air pollution problems that worsen asthma and other chronic respiratory illnesses that affect millions of Americans and children. Our health should not suffer so that members of Congress can put corporate profits ahead of the public's health."

Over 120 House members and 18 Senators have cosponsored one or more pieces of legislation intended to prevent the EPA  from reducing pollution from industrial plants and other sources. By blocking the EPA, the lawmakers would be allowing polluters to continue emitting unlimited amounts of carbon pollution and unsafe amounts other pollutants. The lawmakers collectively have received over $38 million from polluters, many of which have made stopping the EPA a high priority.  (see which House members and Senate members support restricting the EPA.

Key survey findings:

* Americans want the EPA to do more, not less.  63% say "the EPA needs to do more to hold polluters accountable and protect the air and water," versus 29% who think the EPA already "does too much and places too many costly restrictions on businesses and individuals."  44% of Republicans, 29% of  Independents and 16% of Democrats think the EPA is going too far today.

* Americans don't want Congress to kill the EPA's anti-pollution updates. Only 18% of Americans - including 32% of Republicans -- believe "Congress should block the EPA from updating pollution safeguards," after being told:  "Some members of Congress are proposing to block the Environmental Protection Agency from updating safeguards to protect our health from dangerous air pollution, saying they will cost businesses too much money."  By contrast, 77% of Americans, including 61% of Republicans, say "Congress (should) let EPA do its job."

* The vast majority of Republicans - and all Americans - oppose the Newt Gingrich plan to dismantle the EPA.   Only 25% of Americans agree with Newt Gingrich's call to eliminate the EPA.  67% oppose abolishing the EPA, including 49% who strongly oppose it.   Among those opposing the Gingrich plan:  61% of Republicans, 57% of Independents, and 79% of Democrats.

* Support is weak for a new "Gingrich EPA" replacement agency.  Gingrich's proposal that EPA be "replaced by an agency that would place equal consideration for corporate interests as it does for protecting American families against air and water pollution" is supported by 39% of Americans.  

Full survey results are available here:


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