Newt’s Unpopular Anti-EPA Crusade

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Newt Gingrich has made abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency a central theme in what many believe to be the early days of a presidential bid. He first referenced the idea in a speech last week in Iowa, then elaborated on the plan in an email to his supporters. But if Gingrich is serious about the White House, he may went to throttle back on the EPA bashing. Doing away with the EPA is pretty unpopular with Americans—even with Republicans, according to a poll released Wednesday

The poll was conducted by Opinion Research Center International and commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Health Care Without Harm. It found that 67 percent of Americans—including 61 percent of Republicans—opposed the idea of abolishing the agency.

The poll also asked about efforts to strip the EPA’s authority to act on greenhouse gases, the more realistic threat to the agency’s mission right now, as both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have floated plans that would strip that authority to varying degrees. Yet another bill is expected on Wednesday from Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) that would eliminate that authority.

According to the poll, 77 percent of Americans oppose efforts to restrict the EPA’s efforts on air pollution, including 61 percent of Republicans. “Democrats, Republicans, and Independents want politicians to protect the health of children and adults rather than protecting polluters,” said Pete Altman, climate campaign director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Only 25 percent of Republicans they polled actually supported Gingrich’s call to abolish the agency outright—by far the more extreme example of EPA-bashing we’ve seen in recent weeks.

Not to be outdone, Gingrich’s group American Solutions for Winning the Future released its own polling data in the midst of the NRDC’s call with reporters. There was just one problem. Its data was from a 2007 survey that asked vague questions about whether America can have both economic growth and environmental protection, and whether innovation is a good thing. Not a single question dealt with extinguishing the EPA.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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