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New Poll: 61 percent of Americans Support Stronger Smog Standards

American Lung Association calls on House to reject bill that would delay lifesaving limits on ozone pollution, placing Americans’ health at risk

(February 13, 2017) - WASHINGTON, D.C.

For more information please contact:

Michelle Blundell
mblundell@mrss.com
(202) 478-6176

For more information please contact:

Allison MacMunn
media@lung.org
(312) 801-7628

Today, the American Lung Association released new poll results showing that a substantial majority of Americans support upholding more protective limits on smog pollution. The new poll findings show clear public opposition to H.R. 806 (the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017), nicknamed the "Smoggy Skies Act" by public health organizations, which would delay these more protective limits on ozone, also known as smog.

"More than half of all Americans breathe polluted air, putting them at risk of asthma attacks, respiratory infections and premature death," said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "The public wants clean, healthy air. It is no surprise that American voters strongly support maintaining safeguards to protect their health from the dangers of ozone pollution."

The poll found that Americans by a 2-to-1 margin (61 percent) believe that Congress should maintain standards that reduce the amount of smog released by power plants, oil refineries and other industrial facilities.

"Members of Congress who support H.R. 806, the ‘Smoggy Skies Act,' are out of step with more than 60 percent of the American people who support strict limits on smog pollution adopted by EPA in 2015," Wimmer said. "Members of Congress must respect the wishes of a majority of Americans and help save our lungs by opposing H.R. 806, the ‘Smoggy Skies Act,' which would dangerously delay these ozone protections."

The poll, which was administered by Global Strategy Group, showed that voters' support for maintaining the new ozone standards extended across demographics and geographic regions. In addition, the findings showed overwhelming support for maintaining the standard among independents, and even a solid plurality of Republicans.

The key findings from the poll include: 

  • More than 6 in 10 voters want Congress to leave newly updated ozone standards in place, outnumbering those who think the standards should be rolled back;
  • A majority of Democrats and independents support maintaining the safeguards (75 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of independents), while Republicans are split almost evenly after hearing arguments on both sides; and,
  • After voters hear arguments from both sides of the debate, support holds at 60 percent or above in every region of the country and across all levels of education.

"Support for the stronger smog standards held steady at 61 percent in favor, even after hearing a balanced debate on the issue, including the counterargument often used by industry and other opponents of the standard around costs and economic impacts," said Andrew Baumann, Senior Vice President of Research at Global Strategy Group.

"Voters are not fooled by misleading rhetoric propagated by polluters and their allies," Wimmer said. "The American Lung Association calls upon the House of Representatives to listen to their constituents and oppose H.R. 806, the ‘Smoggy Skies Act.' If Congress rolls back these lifesaving protections from ozone pollution, children will suffer from asthma attacks that could have been prevented."

Specifically, the "Smoggy Skies Act" would block the ozone standards and force families to wait at least eight more years for lifesaving limits on ozone pollution. The previous ozone limits were inadequate and do not reflect current science. The outdated limits would allow ozone pollution to remain at levels demonstrated to be harmful, particularly for children, older Americans and those living with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases.

The analysis memo, slide deck and poll questions from Global Strategy Group can be found online: http://www.lung.org/assets/documents/advocacy-archive/poll-results-overwhelming-majority-opposes-efforts-overturn.pdf

Journalists interested in speaking with an American Lung Association health or policy expert about the health impacts of air pollution or the "Smoggy Skies Act" may arrange an interview by contacting Allison MacMunn at Media@Lung.org or 312-801-7628.

Methodology: Global Strategy Group partnered with ORC International to include these questions on a nationwide survey conducted from January 12 to 15, 2017, among 1,003 adults, including 858 registered voters. The margin of error for the sample of registered voters is +/- 3.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Smaller subgroups will have larger error margins. 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.

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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.

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