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Poll Finds Wide Support for Clean Water

Hunting and fishing contribute half a billion dollars to Maine's economy and a new (NWF) survey shows wide bipartisan report for extending EPA Clean Water protections to smaller rivers and streams. Credit: Missing Lynx/NRCM.
Hunting and fishing contribute half a billion dollars to Maine's economy and a new (NWF) survey shows wide bipartisan report for extending EPA Clean Water protections to smaller rivers and streams. Credit: Missing Lynx/NRCM.
July 23, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine – Tea Party voters are well represented in a new bipartisan survey that finds broad support for the Clean Water Act.

Three-in-four voters say the protections should apply to smaller rivers and streams.

A national survey from the National Wildlife Federation finds that almost 9-in-10 registered voters say the Clean Water Act is more of a good thing than a burden.

"Hunting and fishing are a huge part of Maine's economy, 400 to 500 million dollars a year,” says Nick Bennett, a staff scientist with the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “And you can't have brook trout without clean cool streams. Brook trout is the fish that most people come to Maine to go after."

Some members of Congress say the EPA is overstepping its authority, but the new survey finds 75 percent of registered voters see applying the act to smaller rivers and streams as more of a safeguard than a burdensome regulation.

Lori Weigel, a pollster, with Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican-leaning survey company, says 49 percent of the voters her organization surveyed identified with the Tea Party.

Even after hearing arguments against applying Clean Water Act protections to smaller streams and wetlands, she says, support was still strong across all party lines.

"It doesn't do a whole heck of a lot of good to protect and clean up and restore these larger rivers and lakes if the waters flowing into them are polluted," she points out.

Wildlife biologist Eric Orff says these clean water protections also protect people all across New England.

"The homes of our native brook trout, one-third of the New Hampshire population uses for water supply,” he says. “So, if we have cold, clear water for our fish, that means we have clean, healthy water to drink ourselves."


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME