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Unlike Trump, Americans Want Strong Environmental Regulator

Environment Headlines Newsmaker Memo Poll Reuters US

Unlike Trump, Americans Want Strong Environmental Regulator

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Environmental, EPA, Environment

NEW YORK (Reuters) – More than 60 percent of Americans would like to see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s powers preserved or strengthened under incoming President Donald Trump, and the drilling of oil on public lands to hold steady or drop, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday.

The results could foretell stronger-than-expected public opposition to Trump’s plans to boost energy development by slashing environmental regulations, an agenda shared by some of his top Cabinet picks slated for Senate confirmation hearings later this week. Trump takes office on Friday.

Some 39 percent of Americans would like to see the EPA, the nation’s top environmental regulator, “strengthened or expanded,” while another 22 percent hope for it to “remain the same,” according to the poll. Just 19 percent said they would like to see the agency “weakened or eliminated” and the rest said they “don’t know.”

Among Republicans, 47 percent wish for the EPA either to “remain the same” or be “strengthened or expanded,” while 35 percent want it “weakened or eliminated”.

The online poll of 9,935 people was conducted Dec. 16 to Jan. 12 and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 1.1 percentage points.

“Trump is a businessman, and that’s all he thinks about … what will make money,” said Terry Cox, a 61-year-old resident of Tennessee who voted for the New York real estate mogul in November’s election. “But I’m hopeful there’s a limit to what he can do when it comes to weakening protections for wildlife and the environment.”

A Trump transition team official declined to comment.

Trump campaigned on a promise to drastically reduce environmental regulations in order to create jobs and pave the way for more oil, gas, and coal development. He has said he would refocus the EPA on its core mission to protect air and water quality.

He also accused the agency of using “totalitarian tactics” to enforce its regulations under President Barack Obama, who had made the EPA central to his broader effort to combat global climate change by cutting carbon emissions.

According to the Reuters/Ipsos poll, just over 60 percent of Americans think it would be wrong to weaken wildlife protections and air and water regulations to bolster the energy industry, while they were nearly evenly split on whether carbon emissions should be softened to help the industry.

The poll also showed that 39 percent of Americans want to see a decrease in coal mining and oil drilling on U.S. federal lands in the coming years, while 23 percent hope for it to stay the same. Just 22 percent said they wanted to see an increase, and the rest said they do not know.

The U.S. government holds title to about 500 million acres of land across the country, including national parks and forests, wildlife refuges and tribal territories, overlaying billions of barrels of oil and vast quantities of natural gas, coal, and uranium. Trump has promised to boost industry access to these reserves.

Trump nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate change skeptic who has repeatedly sued the EPA over its regulations, to head the agency. Pruitt is scheduled for Senate hearings on Wednesday, where lawmakers are expected to ask him about his ties to the energy industry.

Trump also nominated U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, an avid outdoorsman and former Navy SEAL commander who advocates for more coal mining on federal lands, to run the Department of the Interior that oversees public lands. Zinke will face Senate questions on Tuesday.

And Trump chose former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy, a move that would put him in charge of the agency he proposed eliminating during his failed bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Perry will be questioned on Thursday.

(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

IMAGE: Steam rises from the cooling towers of the coal power plant of RWE, one of Europe’s biggest electricity and gas companies in Niederaussem, north-west of Cologne, Germany. Picture taken March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

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7 Comments

  1. itsfun January 17, 2017

    Are these the same polls that had Hillary winning the election?

    Reply
    1. InformedVoter January 17, 2017

      You got that right! The article plays up a number like 39% and acting like that number is a majority. How ridiculous does that make the author look!

  2. dpaano January 17, 2017

    What the Trump voters don’t seem to realize is that Trump and his billionaire buddies don’t care about them…..they only care about making money! This is what they’ve always done as businessmen, and this is what they’ll do as part of Trump’s administration. What they also don’t seem to understand is that we don’t use coal much any longer, so how in the heck are you going to re-open coal mines? Additionally, they apparently they also don’t care about our environment, our national parks, our wildlife, etc. All they see are oil wells drilling in the middle of what was once a beautiful meadow or a beautiful scenic view! To think that Trump screamed and hollered at the Scottish government because they wanted to put wind turbines in the ocean in front of his golf course! I guess it’s okay for him to have a problem with that, but to heck with the American people, the Indians, the wildlife, etc. The most we can hope for is that the Democrats in Congress, although they aren’t the majority, will fight this tooth and nail! As I’ve said before, we ALL need to contact our respective congressmen/women and let them know our feelings! Maybe we can even prove to a couple of more moderate Republicans that this is NOT something that the American people want!

    Reply
    1. Charlotte Sines January 17, 2017

      I can just picture it now. When I look out my window at Half Dome, there it will be. An oil rig or a fracking rig. Does Trump have even the slightest clue how much the American people love our public lands including our National Parks? It is not just the people of this country either. People come from all over the world to see our parks and spend their money.They will scream as much as we will if he pursues this insane idea. All sh!t is about to hit the fan and it will get blown all over him.

      1. dpaano January 19, 2017

        Or, if they decide to go for coal, they may take off the entire top of Half Dome. Won’t that be scenic? Personally, I don’t think that Trump and his billionaire swampettes give a damned about what people want or like….they only care about the bottom line…..profits!

  3. Jmz Nesky January 17, 2017

    “More than 60 percent of Americans would like to see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s powers preserved or strengthened.”

    Yet we allowed a con man to take control who had said many times that his aim was to deregulate the regulators.. Did you not know what he meant by that statement? His target was never focused only against those who the Trump fans didn’t like but rather on what we all cherish.. You Trump voters only have yourself to blame for what’s about to occur in this nation.

    Reply
  4. johninPCFL January 18, 2017

    Halfwit Perry will do whatever Agent Orange tells him that Putin told him to do.

    Putin has to get oil prices up to $80 per barrel to begin making money again. Expect gas pump prices to be much higher this summer.

    Reply

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