Americans Don't Want Congress to Make the Air Dirtier

As President Obama moves forward with the climate action he laid out in his State of the Union Address, he has strong winds of public support behind him. New polling released Thursday shows that the vast majority of Americans favor reducing dangerous pollution and protecting our air and water.

This doesn't surprise me at all. I have a young daughter, and like all parents, I want her to thrive. I want her to play outside without fear of breathing dirty air and to drink water from the tap without concern about toxic chemicals.

Millions of Americans want the same for their families--whether they live in small towns or urban neighborhoods, are Democrats or Republicans, call themselves environmentalists or not. The desire for clean air and water and the love of natural places are deeply held American values.

Yet the new leadership in Congress is attacking these values.

Over the past two years, oil, gas, and coal companies spent more than $721 million to support their candidates and interests in Congress, and now some lawmakers are pushing a Big Polluter Agenda. They want to gut public health safeguards and block the Environmental Protection Agency from reducing carbon pollution from power plants--the biggest source of climate change emissions in the country.

Meanwhile, GOP leaders haven't offered a single positive plan for addressing climate change or cleaning up dangerous pollution.


People want America to do better, and the polling released Thursday confirms it. Conducted by the bipartisan team of Hart Research Associates and American Viewpoint for NRDC, the research found:

  • Americans want the EPA to reduce climate change pollution: From 69 percent in Virginia up to 74 percent in Florida and Maine, the majority of people support the EPA's first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
  • Americans endorse tougher environmental protections: There's no appetite for weakening environmental safeguards. More than 75 percent value current standards or want them to be stronger. And many people want officials to take a tougher approach to enforcing environmental safeguards.
  • Americans call for clean water safeguards: More than 72 percent of people favor extending protections for headwater streams--waters that help keep the faucets flowing for over 117 million people.

Most people are not asking Republican leaders to dismantle environmental protections. Big polluters are making that demand, and NRDC is determined to hold them in check. We are using our advocacy and legal expertise to stop their dirty agenda. And we are expanding the chorus of voices calling for stronger environmental safeguards. Click here to add your voice to the call.

Congress needs to hear that Americans of all walks of life value clean air and climate action--from manufacturers who build wind turbines to mothers of kids with asthma to Wall Street analysts interested in investing in energy efficiency to communities of color living among refineries and toxic waste.

By speaking out together, we can make our voices heard. We can call for safer air, more clean energy jobs, and improved health. In other words, we can tap into another strongly held American value--the desire to build a better life. I carry that value for my daughter, just like my parents did for me and countless others do for their families.

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Rhea Suh


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