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New poll: The public trusts EPA, loves the Clean Air Act

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By David Roberts
Grist

The top line is this: The public overwhelmingly supports EPA in updating Clean Air Act standards and overwhelmingly opposes congressional efforts to block EPA. When it comes to clean air, the public trusts EPA far more than Congress.

As everyone knows by now, Republicans have launched a massive, coordinated assault on EPA, attempting to block its greenhouse gas regulations, its air and water regulations, and in some cases its very existence. In the surreal hothouse atmosphere of the Beltway, where anti-government radicals are ascendant and everybody's watching the same three cable news channels, this can seem reasonable -- even inevitable.

But if we can collectively pull our heads out of the Beltway's ass and take in a wider view of the country, it quickly becomes clear that the Republican attack on EPA is radically unpopular with voters across parties and demographics.

The latest evidence comes from a nationwide survey done by the American Lung Association in partnership with polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. Even for those of us who understand the public's fondness for clean air, the results are striking.

The top line is this: The public overwhelmingly supports EPA in updating Clean Air Act standards and overwhelmingly opposes congressional efforts to block EPA. When it comes to clean air, the public trusts EPA far more than Congress.

Should EPA update Clean Air Act standards to make them stricter? Fully 69 percent of respondents somewhat or strongly agree, compared to 26 percent who somewhat or strongly oppose.

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