Poll: Voters Support EPA and Stronger Smog Limits

(June 20, 2011)

SmogGetting 75 percent of Americans to agree on anything is challenging, but 75 percent of American voters polled said they support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) setting stricter limits on life-threatening ozone smog.

A new bi-partisan poll, by the American Lung Association also showed that a significant majority of voters believe stronger smog standards will not hurt the economy, but will likely create more jobs as a result of innovation and investment in new technologies. And when asked who should set pollution standards, 66 percent said EPA, not members of Congress.

Key poll findings include:

•  An overwhelming 75 percent of voters support EPA setting stricter limits on smog.
•  65 percent say that stricter standards on air pollution will not damage our economic recovery, with 54 percent believing that updates are likely to create more jobs, not less.
•  66 percent of voters think the EPA should set pollution standards, not Members of Congress.
•  Support for updating smog standards is widespread. Targeted polling among voters in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Virginia found support for the EPA setting stricter limits on air pollution ranging between 64-72 percent.

These findings are telling, because some in Congress are working to undermine EPA’s ability to protect public health and enforce the Clean Air Act. Those working against the EPA are claiming that the public wants them to rein in this agency.

“Big corporate polluters and some in Congress are working to weaken the Clean Air Act and are appealing to the public by depicting a dire scenario should dirty energy companies be forced to clean up their act,” said Peter Iwanowicz, assistant vice president with the American Lung Association.

“They claim that setting more protective standards for smog will harm the economy. As they do, they ignore the overwhelming science that strong, achievable standards are a public health imperative that will benefit everyone and prevent thousands of premature deaths each year.”

Voters reject economic arguments and support public health

The American Lung Association conducted a nationwide, bipartisan survey to examine voters’ views of the EPA and the agency’s efforts to update pollution standards. The results of the survey refute assertions made by some Members of Congress and major oil and power companies regarding the public’s attitudes on air pollution - including smog – their confidence in the EPA and its impact on job creation and economic recovery.

Despite months of continued attacks on clean air protections, the poll’s results show that 72 percent of voters do not want Congress to stop the EPA from setting stricter limits on smog. This is an increase from a similar Lung Association survey conducted in February 2011, in which 68 percent of voters opposed Congressional action that would impede EPA from updating clean air standards.

“Support for the EPA is strong across all regions of the country, and across all party lines,” said Iwanowicz. “It’s time the polluters and their Congressional allies listen to voters who overwhelmingly want the EPA to protect the air we breathe.” Learn more and see the whole poll here.

You can help fight for healthier air

You can learn more about how the Clean Air Act saves lives and what you can do to keep it strong here. Want to take action now? Sign a letter supporting the Clean Air Act. You can also sign up to receive notifications of upcoming action alerts.