Poll: State, Local Governments Better than Feds on Environmental Protection

Published March 1, 1999

Seven out of 10 registered voters nationwide believe that state or local government agencies can better protect the environment than the federal government, according to a new poll conducted by The Polling Company for the Washington, DC-based Competitive Enterprise Institute. The survey also found:

  • 68 percent of those surveyed believe that state or local government should have primary responsibility for protecting water quality in rivers, lakes, and streams
  • 65 percent believe that state or local government should be most responsible for ensuring that communities are aware of the potential risks from industrial facilities
  • 74 percent believe that state and local government should determine what air pollution control measures are used, and 36 percent believe that state and local governments should be allowed to “set their own air quality standards based on local needs”
  • 63 percent support compensation of landowners for the costs of environmental regulations that restrict the use of their land
  • 59 percent support the “private ownership, management, and breeding of endangered wildlife” to help conserve endangered species”
  • 53 percent believe that journalists “blow things out of proportion” in their coverage of environmental issues

The new survey’s results are consistent with those from CEI’s 1996 national survey of attitudes on environmental policy. Both surveys found that most Americans support environmental protection and significant reform of existing environmental laws. For most Americans, devolution, regulatory reform, and property rights are consistent with environmental protection.

The Polling Company surveyed 1,000 registered voters nationwide between December 8 and 11. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.