New Poll Shows Broad Support from American Voters for Limits on Methane Emissions
(June 2, 2016) - CHICAGO
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New polling data released by the American Lung Association today shows broad support among registered voters for stricter air pollution standards to reduce methane emissions from new and modified oil and gas facilities.
According to the national poll, 60 percent of Americans favor the recently-finalized protections to reduce methane emissions from new and modified oil and gas facilities. Support stretches across all parts of the country and across nearly all demographics. Women and men in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West all overwhelmingly support the new standards. More broadly, 66 percent of voters favor the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updating standards with stricter limits on air pollution.
"This widespread support is further proof that Americans want to clean up oil and gas operations," said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "The new methane standards mark an important step in the fight against climate change and will also cut toxic air pollutants that threaten the health of Americans."
The EPA announced the finalization of the standards just last month, which will significantly reduce methane and other toxic chemical emissions from new and modified oil and gas facilities. Methane is one of the most potent climate change pollutants, and warmer average temperatures can increase the risk of unhealthy ozone levels.
"When voters heard balanced arguments from both sides, we saw the support for methane standards holding steady at 59 percent in favor," said Andrew Baumann, Vice President of Global Strategy Group. "In the minds of an overwhelming majority of American voters, an argument touting the health and economic benefits of the new methane limits clearly outweighed the industry's claims that these regulations would cost jobs and increase energy costs."
In 2025, the new methane standards will reduce an estimated 510,000 short tons of methane and reduce 210,000 tons of ozone-forming volatile organic compounds, including 3,900 tons of air toxics such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. Communities whose health is most vulnerable to air pollution will immensely benefit from the emission reductions, such as infants, children and teenagers; older adults; people with asthma and other lung diseases; people with cardiovascular disease; people with low incomes; and healthy adults who work or exercise outdoors.
Key poll findings include:
- Three-fifths of voters favor EPA's new standards on methane from the oil and gas industry.
- Voters' support for strong limits shows up nationwide. At least 57 percent of voters in every region of the country favor the new methane standards.
- Support for the methane standards also spans across gender and race, with male and female, and black, white and Hispanic voters all supporting the standards by more than 58 percent.
- Voters strongly side with the need to reduce methane pollution from new oil and gas facilities after hearing balanced arguments from both sides (59 percent to 34 percent).
The analysis memo and poll questions from Global Strategy Group can be found online.
Methodology: This survey was conducted for the American Lung Association by Global Strategy Group. Global Strategy Group partnered with Princeton Survey Research Associates International to include these questions on a nationwide survey conducted from May 19 to 22, 2016, among 1,002 adults, including 764 registered voters. The margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/- 4.3 percentage points among registered voters. Care has been taken to ensure that the partisan, geographic, and demographic divisions of the nationwide electorate are properly represented by the survey's respondents.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.