Voters Say They Want Tough Clean Air Standards

Legislation introduced that would repeal Clean Air Act despite polls which should citizens want standards that protect the health of children and senior citizens.

Published: 30-Dec-2000

CONCORD, New Hampshire, December 28, 2000 (ENS) - On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, post election national and statewide New Hampshire surveys show that voters want tougher clean air standards based on new science rather than economics. Voters also want stricter enforcement of the law, show surveys conducted for the nonprofit Clean Air Trust and Clean Air Network. The surveys focus attention on the issues faced by New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith, the Republican chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Members of Smith's panel have introduced polluter backed legislation that would repeal the Clean Air Act provision which requires that national clean air health standards be based solely on health science. Some of Smith's colleagues want the public to know the health impact of dirty air only if it does not cost too much to clean up.

The Clean Air Act, which became law on December 31, 1970, calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set national clean air health standards based solely on the best available science. In the national and New Hampshire surveys, almost nine of ten voters favor updating clean air health standards to reflect new science. More than nine out of ten voters favor requiring that people be told when air pollution levels in their community are high enough to impact their health or the health of their families, regardless of how much it will cost them to clean up. More than two-thirds of voters say the health standards should be set at a level strict enough to protect children with asthma and senior citizens. Almost seven in ten favor setting clean air standards based solely on scientific data without regard to the cost of pollution cleanup. By a 72-13 margin, voters reject the notion that large companies will spend the money needed to reduce pollution without "government rules and enforcement of pollution standards."

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