The American Lung Association (ALA) is hawking the results of an opinion poll that supposedly shows “American voters support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) setting stronger fine particle (soot) standards to protect public health.” ALA spokesperson Peter Iwanowicz says the poll ”affirms that the public is sick of soot and wants EPA to set more protective standards.” Missy Egelsky of pollster Greenberg Quinlan Rosner says the survey “clearly indicates that Americans strongly back the EPA taking action now to limit the amount of soot released by oil refineries, power plants and other industrial facilities” (Greenwire, Nov. 29, 2012). This is all spin.
Most Americans probably have opinions about President Obama’s overall record and many have opinions about the Stimulus, Obamacare, the Keystone XL Pipeline, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the auto industry bailout, and whether Congress should cut spending and/or raise taxes. But how many even know the EPA is revising the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for fine particles (PM2.5)?
So the first thing I notice in the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll is the absense of an appropriate first question: Please name or describe any major air quality rules the U.S. EPA is expected to complete in the near future? Starting with that question would likely show most people are unaware of the pending NAAQS revision. From which it follows they don’t have an opinionabout it (though of course anyone can have an off-the-cuff reaction to anything).
The survey asks a bunch of demographic questions about respondents’ party affiliation, age, gender, and the like, but only two substantive questions. The first is as follows:
As you may know, the EPA is proposing to update air pollution standards by placing stricter limits on the amount of fine particles, also called “soot,” that power plants, oil refineries and other industrial facilities can release. Do you favor or oppose the EPA setting stricter limits on fine particles, also called “soot?”
Read more at GlobalWarming.org. By Marlo Lewis.