Voters Overwhelmingly Support EPA Air Pollution Rules

75% of Voters Believe EPA, Not Congress, Should Determine Air Pollution Standards

Majority Believe Economic and Health Benefits of Clean Air Rules Outweigh Costs

Oct 12, 2011, 14:01 ET from Ceres

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new, nationwide poll shows that by a wide margin, voters of both political parties and in all regions of the U.S. disagree with Congress' anti-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agenda and support the EPA's new rules to limit air pollution from coal-fired power plants.  Two-thirds of the respondents – 67 percent – oppose Congress delaying implementation of the air pollution rules, according to the national survey of 1,400 voters conducted by Hart Research Associates and GS Strategy Group and sponsored by Ceres.  

"American voters, both Democrats and Republicans, are unified in backing prompt EPA action on the clean air rules," said Ceres president Mindy Lubber. "Regardless of affiliation, voters want a healthy environment and an end to foot-dragging to upgrade dirty power plants.  Despite the rhetoric in Washington, clean air is not a partisan issue among Americans, and Congress would do well to take notice."

"Although some in Congress oppose these rules, the level of support from Republican voters is surprisingly strong," said Greg Strimple of GS Strategy Group, a Republican pollster who jointly conducted the research. "The research clearly demonstrates Republican voters are willing to support new rules to reduce harmful emissions in order to improve public health.  Republicans like clean air, too."    

The poll, conducted Aug 31-Sept 7, gauged voters' feelings about two EPA clean air rules - the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Rule (aka Utility MACT). The first rule will require significant reductions in harmful power plant emissions, mostly from coal-fired generators, that drift hundreds of miles downwind and across state lines. The second rule will require power plants to curb toxic emissions of mercury, lead, arsenic and acid gases by 2015.  Many of the power plants impacted by these rules are more than 50 years old.

These are the same two rules that Ceres and the University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute evaluated earlier this year with respect to economic and job-creation benefits the rules would bring across the United States:

Among the poll's key findings:

  • 88% of Democrats, 85% of Independents, and 58% of Republicans oppose Congress stopping the EPA from enacting new limits on air pollution from electric power plants.
  • 67% of voters support the CSAPR and 77% of voters support the Toxics rule.
  • 65% of voters surveyed are confident that the health and environmental benefits of air pollution standards outweigh the costs of complying with them.
  • 79% of voters agree that the rules are important to enact for health reasons.
  • 75% of voters believe a compelling reason to implement these rules is the boost to local economies and thousands of new jobs that will be created from investments in new technology.

Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates, which jointly conducted the poll observed, "Despite the vitriol coming from Capitol Hill, the research shows that not only do voters see that it is an important issue, the undeniable consensus is that they support these rules. The fear of not having clean air is a clear-cut issue according to the voting public. And, not only do voters overwhelmingly support the EPA's clean air rules, they firmly believe EPA should be allowed to do its job without interference from Congress."  

Survey Methodology

Hart Research Associates and GS Strategy Group conducted this online nationwide survey, among 1,400 voters, between August 31-September 7, 2011.  More details about the poll can be found at:

About Ceres

Ceres is a leading coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change. Ceres also directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a network of 98 investors with $9.5 trillion of collective assets focused on the business impacts of climate change.

Media Contacts:
Peyton Fleming, Ceres, 617-733-6660
Cortney Piper, Cater Communications, 865.789.2669