Americans support the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan by a margin of nearly two to one, a new poll from the League of Conservation Voters found.
Despite the rhetoric from some Republican governors, 70 percent of Americans want their states to develop plans to meet the EPA’s guidelines. Carbon emissions from power plants will be regulated for the first time under the EPA plan, finalized earlier this month.
“It is good news that support for the Clean Power Plan remains strong, but it’s especially good news to see that Americans want their governors on board with the plan too,” League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski said in a statement. “State leaders who are choosing to fight these carbon pollution safeguards would do well to listen to their constituents instead of the polluters.”
According to the poll, conducted for the League of Conservation Voters by Hart Research, supporters of the plan outnumber opponents pretty much across the board.
“A majority of voters in every region of the country support it, as do a majority of voters in every age, education, and income category,” the researchers found. And while there is majority support among both Democrats and Independents, Republicans are not far behind: 56 percent of “non-conservative” Republicans are generally in favor of the Clean Power Plan, and 58 percent of all Republicans want their state to comply with the EPA rule — even if they don’t support it.
The new poll largely echoes a recent poll of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, who also broadly supported the Clean Power Plan. Another poll of Republicans found that most support acting on climate change.
And while the poll found support for this particular way of reducing carbon emissions, other efforts to combat climate change saw even more enthusiasm. In fact, more than three in four voters said they wanted more state investment in renewable sources of electricity, such as wind and solar, and energy efficiency programs.
Republican presidential candidates, though, do not appear to reflect their constituents’ positions. Republican leaders largely criticized the plan, which aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 25 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030, when it was announced.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called it a “lawless and radical attempt to destabilize the nation’s energy system,” and predicted that it would raise electricity prices “unless it is invalidated by Congress, struck down by the courts, or rescinded by the next Administration.” Sen. Marco Rubio said the plan wouldn’t do anything, anyway, because India and China are still going to pollute.
But beyond the rhetoric, how to respond to the Clean Power Plan is a pressing question for sitting Republican governors. Under Gov. John Kasich, Ohio joined a failed lawsuit to halt the Clean Power Plan before it was finalized. Ohio has also signed on to the newest court challenge.
But that doesn’t actually mean that Ohio won’t be developing an implementation plan. In fact, it likely is working on one already. The state’s Public Utility Commission warned in March that passing legislation to stop a plan would backfire, leaving the electricity sector scrambling. As written, the Clean Power Plan gives states wide latitude to develop state implementation plans to meet the reduction goals. But, if a state fails to submit an acceptable plan, the EPA will provide one.
This new data might give governors the push they need to support developing implementation plans.