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Public Supports Clean Power, Despite State-Level Maneuvering


EE_Cover-LargeThe Clean Power Plan is facing its most substantial legal challenge this month as the DC federal district court hears new arguments whether the plan violates federal law. The CPP, which aims to reduce pollution from power plants and expand the use of clean, renewable energy, has been placed on hold by the Supreme Court as attorneys general in 27 states across the country challenge the merits of the rule. In the midst of the political and legal challenges, a new survey released this week, suggests that majorities of Americans, including in states engaged in legal challenges to the plan, are actually in favor of the plan’s goals.

The survey, conducted by the University of Maryland School of Public Policy along with the nonprofit group, Voice of the People, finds nearly 70% of Americans favor the Clean Power Plan. Among states that are challenging the law, two-thirds (67%), support the plan.  

There was strong bipartisan support for the plan in scenarios that included policies to mitigate perceived negative effects of the new rules – like adding support for coal mine workers who lose their jobs. With the addition of policies like enhanced job training and assistance, support increases to a bipartisan majority, rising to 68 percent among Republicans, 80 percent among Democrats, and 73 percent overall.

The report also found majorities also favor other policies to limit harmful emission, like  requiring higher fuel efficiency standards for light cars and trucks, heavy duty vehicles and requiring electric companies to have a minimum portion of their electricity come from renewable sources (overall 71-74 percent). Republican support for these ranges from 56-57 percent, while for Democrats, 84-89 percent.

The survey methodology itself is fairly unique. Unlike a standard poll, the UMD-VOP survey took respondents through an online process called a ‘policymaking simulation’ that seeks to put them in the shoes of a policymaker, giving them essential information and presenting key arguments on both sides of each issue.

The full report can be found here.