Full Title: Public Divides Over Environmental Regulation and Energy Policy
Author(s): Cary Funk & Brian Kennedy
Publisher(s): Pew Research Center
Publication Date: May 1, 2017
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Amid major debates over energy and environmental policy changes, Americans tilt toward supporting government regulations as the best way to encourage renewable energy development, believe that reliance on solar and wind power are effective in minimizing pollution, and are less convinced that pro-coal and pro-oil policies are viable antipollution strategies.
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that 83% of Americans say increasing use of renewable energy sources is a top or important priority for the country’s energy policies. This is one of several considerations the American public thinks should be a priority for the country’s energy policies. A majority of U.S. adults (54%) agree that “Government regulations are necessary to encourage businesses and consumers to rely more on renewable energy sources.” Meanwhile, 38% back the statement, “The private marketplace will ensure that businesses and consumers rely more on renewable energy sources, even without government regulations.”
But the public is divided on the core question shaping the debates in the early period of the Trump administration: Is it possible to cut back environmental regulations and still effectively protect water and air quality? Some 49% think it is possible to trim regulations and still protect air and water, while 47% believe it is not possible to protect those resources with fewer regulations. These views differ widely by political party.
The survey shows that 54% of U.S. adults believe the Trump administration is doing too little to protect the environment, while 30% think the administration is doing “about the right amount” and 5% believe it is doing too much.