Pro-Environment, Not Pro-EPA: Americans want environmental protection, but not more federal regulation

America’s support for strong environmental protection does not translate into strong support for heavy-handed federal regulation. CEI’s just released National Environmental Survey demonstrates that Americans want more state and local control of environmental policymaking, and are open to non-regulatory approaches.

“Americans are unquestionably pro-environment,” commented Jonathan H. Adler, CEI senior director of environmental policy. “But they are also suspicious of the extensive, command-and-control environmental bureaucracy headquartered in Washington, DC. Indeed, most Americans are both pro-environment and anti-federal regulation.” Adler noted that the survey findings were quite similar to those from the polling company’s 1996 national survey on environmental policy.

Some of the poll’s key findings include the following:

  • Approximately 70 percent believe that state or local government would do a better job at environmental protection than the federal government;
  • 68 percent believe that state or local government should have primary responsibility for protecting water quality in rivers, lakes and streams;
  • 63 percent support compensation of landowners for the costs of environmental regulations that restrict the use of their land;
  • Only 8 percent believe the federal government should be the primary actor in dealing with urban sprawl; most prefer that state or local government address this issue.
  • 59 percent support the “private ownership, management and breeding endangered wildlife” to help conserve endangered species;
  • 53 percent believe that journalists “blow things out of proportion” in their coverage of environmental issues.

The survey of 1,000 randomly selected registered voters nationwide was administered by telephone December 8-11, 1998. It has a margin of error or +/- 3.1 % at the 95 percent confidence level.

For a copy of the poll or to schedule interviews with Jonathan Adler, please contact Emily McGee at 202-331-1010, ext. 209 (work) or 703-728-0138 (cell).

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.