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Poll: Most Voters Want EPA, not Congress, to Decide Pollution Rules

October 31, 2011

CHICAGO - A new poll suggests Congress should butt out when it comes to air pollution standards in America. A recent survey by Hart Research found that 75 percent of voters want the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be in charge, as it has been for decades. Additionally, more than 80 percent expect new rules to be put in place to protect the nation's air and health.

Jack Darin, director of the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, says many of the old coal plants in Illinois are still creating dangerous levels of pollution.

"Pollution is causing heart attacks, premature deaths, asthma attacks all over the state."

Some in Congress oppose environmental rules as too costly to business. Darin says he's concerned because some political candidates have called for abolishing the EPA and some members of Congress are working to weaken it.

"The Republicans in Congress have passed, in the House, four or five major loopholes in the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act just this summer and fall alone."

Eighty-eight percent of Democrats, 85 percent of Independents, and 58 percent of Republicans polled oppose Congress stopping the EPA from setting new limits to control air pollution from power plants. Darin says those numbers speak volumes.

"Illinoisans and Americans want the scientists to be in charge of protecting the environment and our health and not the politicians in Washington, who are accepting contributions from the biggest polluters in America."

Darin disagrees with those who say that clean air regulations will cost too many jobs and too much money.

"The Clean Air Act has been a tremendous success story. It has saved millions of lives in a very cost-effective fashion. Seeing politicians shooting at the clean air act is really disturbing, and it's dangerous to our health."

Medical experts say in Illinois the cost of asthma related hospitalizations is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Seventy-five percent of the poll respondents say they believe implementing new environmental rules could create jobs in new technology.

The poll is available at http://tinyurl.com/3ukwwoz.


Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - IL