Americans—Democrats and Republicans—Support the Clean Power Plan

, senior energy analyst | January 21, 2015, 5:29 pm EDT
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New polling results released this month found that—despite what you may have heard—the American public broadly supports efforts to reduce global warming emissions from the nation’s power plants. And maybe even more surprising given the political narrative, that support transcends party lines.

Support for the Clean Power Plan


This post is part of a series on the EPA Clean Power Plan.

As discussed frequently on our blog, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed standards limiting carbon dioxide emissions from both new and existing power plants. The proposal for existing plants is better known as the Clean Power Plan. After an unprecedented outreach effort and an extended public comment period that generated a record number of comments (including ours), the agency is expected to finalize standards for both new and existing sources this summer.

The Republican-controlled Congress has made fighting the EPA’s proposals a central rallying cry. However, the new poll, conducted by the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College, found “broad public support” for the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. Overall, of the 942 adults surveyed, 73 percent support limits on new power plants and 67 percent support the Clean Power Plan.

In fact, the poll shows support for the Clean Power Plan even among Republicans—60 percent of those polled strongly support or somewhat support the policy. The results echo the findings of previous surveys.

Strong support for the Clean Power Plan across party lines. Source: Issues in Energy and Environmental Policy, National Surveys on Energy and Environment

Strong support for the Clean Power Plan across party lines. Source: Issues in Energy and Environmental Policy, National Surveys on Energy and Environment

Independent and evidence-based

Funding for this survey came directly from the universities involved—the researchers do not accept “agenda-driven or advocacy-based funding.” This is in contrast to industry-funded studies that distort the facts on the ground. Case in point: a flawed and biased push poll commissioned by the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, an organization created just over year ago to provide a front for industry groups that oppose EPA’s proposal to limit power plant carbon emissions. Even that flawed survey found that respondents were more likely to support EPA if the proposal “could allow for the expansion of the green technology industry” (see p.4 within link).

So the next time your favorite legislator claims that the public does not support reducing global warming emissions, take it with a big grain of salt. Remember that Americans really get it and do support policies to reduce harmful emissions.

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  • Richard Solomon

    Good article! UCS members should do more than take false claims by their representatives “with a grain of salt.” They should write or call their offices to correct the misperceptions, if not outright lies, that their reps are perpetrating. And should their reps not come clean about it, the UCS members should vote for another candidate in the next election!