Monday, October 24, 2011

America Loves Them Some EPA

This is actually steam, but the visual works

And the survey said:

  • 78 percent of Americans want the EPA to hold corporations responsible for toxins they release into the environment, with 83 percent of women and 80 percent Latina women agreeing.

  • 69 percent of Americans agree with health experts who support the reduction of air pollution from industrial sources, rather than those who advocate overruling the EPA to protect jobs, with 75 percent of women and 73 percent of Latina women agreeing.

  • 70 percent of Americans support the EPA requiring stricter limits on the amount of toxic chemical industrial facilities can release, with 77 percent of women and 76 percent of Latina women agreeing.

  • Why the emphasis on women? This is Public Policy Polling, 1,249 registered voters in 2012 "battleground" states (including Michigan), and it was conducted for League of United Latin American Citizens, the League of Women Voters, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. They over-sampled suburban and Latina women because, according to PPP's Tom Jensen, they are two of the fastest growing sectors of voters.

    Loaded questions? Maybe. Here's an example:

    In order to fairly pose a question, two alternative sides of an argument were presented. For example, the American Lung Association position that with regulations deaths could be prevented -- was the counterpoint to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce belief that a stronger smog standard would limit business expansion and cost jobs.

    Real deaths vs. unspecified job loss. Loaded or not, that's where the Republican argument always falls apart; they cannot point to what jobs would be created or lost by allowing pollution, and the threats to health outweigh that factor anyway. Destroying the environment because it would "create jobs" was always a very specious argument, one that most Americans probably aren't going to buy.

    Jensen stated, "Attacks on clean air and the federal agency charged with protecting the environment and the health of Americans is an unpopular position with most Americans, including those in nine key 2012 battleground states." He concluded that assaults on the Clean Air Act and the EPA were "likely to be perceived as decidedly extreme and well outside of the mainstream of the public's thinking."

    Not only that, the folks at UMass’s Political Economy Research Institute can show you a study that points out the fact that stronger EPA regulations would create nearly 1.5 million jobs, as power companies either retrofit existing plants or build new ones.

    James Heintz, associate director at the UMass’s Political Economy Research Institute, which did the study, said in a telephone interview that the potential job growth was not only dynamic, but diverse. “You are talking about an intense infusion of new capital for construction and installation and direct jobs for [people making] boilers, pollution control technologies, scrubbers, and component parts,’’ he said. “The indirect jobs are the kind created that when you install a natural gas-fired generator’’ which includes components made at factories across the country.

    Defending a clean environment (and by inference, the EPA) is pretty much a winner, and the poll shows it especially wins with women voters. Throw in the fact that it would create more jobs than allowing deregulation and it's a no-brainer.

    Much to the Koch brothers chagrin. The US House may continue its assault by trying to cut funding for the EPA, but don't look for the Republicans to run ads touting the fact they want to poison the air and rivers. This is one argument the Democrats can win - if they choose to use it.