Friday, February 11, 2011

Polling Indicates Support For U.S. EPA In Rep. Upton's District

Feb 10: The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released polling data indicating that sixty-two percent of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton's constituents (i.e. Michigan 6th Congressional District) oppose a bill he is sponsoring -- the Energy Tax Prevention Act -- which NRDC says would "dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to reduce carbon dioxide and other pollutants." The 6th Congressional District is in southwest Michigan and consists of all of Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren, counties, and includes most of southern and eastern Allegan and a portion of western Calhoun counties. According to Wikipedia the 6th Congressional District is approximately 58% urban, 42 % rural; has a median income of $40,943; and is approximately 86.0% white.

    The Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey, conducted for NRDC, turned up similar findings in the home districts of eight other key committee members including: Reps. Mary Bono Mack, R-CA; Cory Gardner, R-CO; Adam Kinzinger, R-IL; Charlie Bass, R-NH; Leonard Lance, R-NJ; Mike Doyle, D-PA; Charles A. Gonzalez, D-TX; and Gene Green, D-TX.

    The survey also found that 67 percent of Upton's constituents -- including 60 percent of Republicans -- agreed with the statement that "Congress should let the EPA do its job," as opposed to the minority who believe that "Congress should decide" what actions are taken to curb carbon pollution. The PPP survey of 595 registered voters in the Michigan 6th Congressional District was conducted February 4-5, 2011, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

    Pete Altman, Climate Campaign director at NRDC said, "The bottom line is now clearer than ever: Democrats, Republicans and Independents across America want politicians to protect the health of America's children rather than the profit-driven agenda of big polluters. Chairman Upton and other members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will now be hard-pressed to ignore the fact that their constituents want Congress to let the EPA do its job of safeguarding the health of American families." Tom Jensen, director, Public Policy Polling said, "What we see in the findings across the board is a strikingly consistent affirmation by Americans that they support the EPA and its anti-pollution, pro-public health role. Whether they are in rural or urban districts, Americans clearly believe that Congress should be doing what's best for public health, not polluters."

    On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing on Upton's bill and the chairman has indicated that he plans to move the legislation forward as quickly as possible [See WIMS 2/9/11]. Other key PPP survey findings from Chairman Upton's Michigan 6th Congressional District include the following: 61 percent say that "EPA needs to do more to hold polluters accountable and protect the air and water." [and] 57 percent favor "the EPA setting new standards with stricter limits on air pollution."

    NRDC said that more than 125 U.S. House Members -- including Reps. Mack, Gardner, and Kinzinger -- have sponsored, co-sponsored or publicly indicated their support for one or more of the pending bills that "put the agendas of polluters first at the expense of 24 million Americans with asthma, including seven million children."

    On February 9, EPA Administrator Jackson testified that, "Chairman Upton's bill would, in its own words, "repeal' that scientific finding [i.e. greenhouse gas emissions threaten the health and welfare of the American people]. Politicians overruling scientists on a scientific question-- that would become part of this Committee's legacy. . . Chairman Upton's bill would block President Obama's plan to follow up with Clean Air Act standards for cars and light trucks of Model Years 2017 through 2025. Removing the Clean Air Act from the equation would forfeit pollution reductions and oil savings on a massive scale, increasing America's debilitating oil dependence. . ." She also said the bill would block a "reasonable approach" for limiting carbon pollution and would hamper the growth of the clean energy sector of the U.S. economy. She said, the bill "would have additional negative impacts that its drafters might not have intended. For example, it would prohibit EPA from taking further actions to implement the Renewable Fuels Program, which promotes the domestic production of advanced bio-fuels."   

    The survey within Representative Upton's district included eight questions. The following two Q&As are included as an example:

  • Question #1: Some people say that the EPA needs to do more to hold polluters accountable and protect the air and water. Others say that the EPA does too much and places too many costly restrictions on businesses and individuals. Which point of view do you agree with more? EPA needs to do more to hold polluters accountable and protect the air and water ...61%; EPA does too much and places too many costly restrictions on businesses and individuals ...39%
  • Question #4: Michigan Congressman Fred Upton is promoting a proposal that would block the EPA from limiting carbon dioxide pollution. Some, like the National Association of Manufacturers, say Congress should block the EPA because "EPA's overregulation threatens manufacturers, businesses and jobs throughout America. Its actions will increase manufacturers' energy costs and make it more difficult to compete." Others, like the American Lung Association, say Congress should not block the EPA because doing so "would strip away Clean Air Act protections that safeguard Americans and their families from air pollution that puts their lives at risk." Knowing these two points of view, would you support or oppose Congress blocking the EPA? If you would support Congress blocking the EPA, press 1. If you would oppose it, press 2. 38% Support & 62% Oppose.
    In releasing the draft Energy Tax Prevention Act, Rep. Upton along with Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said in a joint release that, "(1) Congress, not EPA bureaucrats, should be in charge of setting America's climate change policy. . . With this draft proposal, we are initiating a deliberative, transparent process that we hope will prevent EPA from imposing by regulation the massive cap-and-trade tax that Congress rejected last year.  We firmly believe federal bureaucrats should not be unilaterally setting national climate change policy, and with good reason: EPA's cap-and-trade tax agenda will cost jobs, undermine the competitiveness of America's manufacturers, and, as EPA has conceded, will have no meaningful impact on climate.  In other words, all cost with no benefit.  America's consumers, large and small businesses, farmers, and entrepreneurs should not carry this burden.  We look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and the Obama Administration, to pass and sign into law legislation that stops EPA, puts Congress in charge, and helps get our economy growing again." [See WIMS 2/3/11].

    Access a release from NRDC that includes links to the polling results, other district results, additional information and an audio of the news briefing  (click here). Access the polling questions and results for Rep. Upton's district (click here).

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