WASHINGTON – With Congress headed to a fall showdown over the federal budget, a new poll carries an unmistakable message: Americans strongly oppose cuts to funding for environmental protections, clean energy and climate solutions, and investments in transit infrastructure.
Key findings of the national poll conducted for the Natural Resources Defense Council by the firm American Viewpoint include:
· Widespread Support for Environmental Funding & Safeguards: Only 22 percent of respondents believe the federal government spends too much on protecting the environment, and only 35 percent believe there are too many regulations on businesses meant to protect the environment.
· Resistance to Budget Cuts: Nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose cuts to funding for the Environmental Protection Agency; programs that reduce pollution in low-income and minority communities; and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, providers of forecasts and early warnings about dangerous weather and natural disasters.
· Cross-Party Support: The strongest support for these safeguards and programs—and opposition to cutbacks—comes from Democrats and Independents. But a sizable number of Republicans, more than one-third in most cases, also oppose them.
“President Trump and GOP leaders should think twice about pushing spending bills that put polluters first and our health and safety last,” said NRDC President Rhea Suh. “This poll has an unmistakable warning. Americans stand firmly against cutting protections for clean air, water and lands, or jeopardizing clean energy gains. They won’t support infrastructure plans that sell off community assets and reduce federal investment in public transit. And they reject opening public lands to oil and gas development.
“Members of Congress should work together and hammer out a federal budget protecting the priorities we share, and the progress we’ve made. They should invest in what we all hold dear – our health, environment and our children’s future.”
Earlier this year, the president sent to Congress a 2018 budget proposal that seeks deep cuts to federal environmental, infrastructure, research and climate-related budgets. While many in Congress, including key Republicans, have largely ignored the Trump budget, GOP leaders are working on spending bills that still seek sizable reductions in key budgets for the environment, public health, clean energy, infrastructure and changes to management of the nation’s public lands. A measure funding the federal government for fiscal year 2018 must be approved by the end of September.
Specific poll results include:
CLEAN ENERGY & CLIMATE SOLUTIONS
· 67 percent reject efforts to eliminate funding for programs that help businesses and individuals make energy efficient improvements, such as adding insulation or upgrading heating systems. This includes 40 percent of Republicans.
· 66 percent are against reducing funding for research and development of renewable energy technologies like wind and solar.
· 59 percent oppose cuts to researching solutions to climate change.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND PUBLIC HEALTH SAFEGUARDS
· 65 percent oppose cutting funding for NOAA, whose alerts and forecasts also help defend coastal communities from storm damage and protect fish and wildlife.
· 61 percent oppose curbing funding for programs that work to eliminate pollution in low-income and minority communities.
· 59 percent do not favor cutting the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency, the nation’s environmental guardian of our air, water, land and climate.
· 55 percent oppose the president’s plan to lease some public lands and oceans to private companies to expand drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
· 60 percent oppose trimming investment in infrastructure such as airports, bridges and highways.
· 59 percent are against reducing funding for commuter rail and rapid transit lines.
The national poll of 1,000 respondents was conducted June 28-July 2, 2017. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent. Approximately 40 percent of the interviews were conducted via a cell phone of those who cannot be reached on a landline. Call backs were conducted with 593 respondents addressing efficiency and renewables was conducted August 5-8, 2017. The margin of error for those findings is plus or minus 4.2 percent.
An American Viewpoint memo on the poll is here: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/nrdc-national-survey-june-17-memo.pdf
The poll results are here https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/nrdc-national-survey-june-17-presentation-public.pdf
A blog by Peter Altman, NRDC director of Federal Campaigns, on the findings is here: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/pete-altman/americans-oppose-epa-environmental-budget-cuts
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.