GOP Governors Don’t Want To Cut Carbon Pollution Even Though Their States Do

Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) CREDIT: AP PHOTO
Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) CREDIT: AP PHOTO

At a Republican Governors Association news conference on Monday at the Petroleum Club in Houston, the new EPA carbon rules were blasted as job killers — and litigation against the regulations was portrayed as imminent.

“This is such a dangerous overreach in terms of the potential threat to our economy and our ability to restore those manufacturing jobs,” said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. “I absolutely do think litigation needs to be on the table.”

Gov. Jindal was joined by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and the governors of North Dakota and Wyoming at the event. Following the news conference a letter signed by nine Republican governors, including Perry and Jindal, was sent to Obama. The letter asked the President to withdraw the proposed rules and complained that the proposed standard would “largely dictate to the states the type of electricity they could build.”

But are the signing governors, from significantly coal-dependent states — Alaska, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming and North Carolina — out of step with attitudes on the ground in their states? A survey of recent polls, both national, and state-specific, suggests they are.

A Washington Post-ABC News Poll released on the heels of the EPA announcement, found that 70 percent of Americans support federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Even more remarkable, the poll found that even in states where a majority of electricity is produced by burning coal, 69 percent of people still supported government limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Wyoming, Indiana, and North Dakota, among other states, are all at least 50 percent dependent on coal.

Results are similar for more state-specific polling. A poll released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling found that a majority of North Carolinians, 58 percent, support the President’s plan to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants.

In Pennsylvania, a whopping 72 percent of voters are in favor of the EPA’s proposed rule, according to a poll released earlier in the month that focused on attitudes in swing states. The poll was commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters and conducted by Hart Research Associates. Six hundred voters in Pennsylvania were surveyed.

Despite these results, both North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed the letter of opposition sent to Obama.

A poll released in February found that voters in Louisiana, Alaska, Arkansas, and North Carolina overwhelmingly support EPA regulations to limit carbon pollution — even after hearing arguments for and against the regulations. The poll, conducted by Harstad Strategic Research, found that 64 percent of voters in these “red states” supported the measure.