New poll shows broad support for limits on methane emissions

COLUMBUS – New polling data released June 2 by the American Lung Association shows broad support among registered voters for ther stricter air pollution standards to reduce methane emissions from new and modified oil and gas facilities just announced by EPA on May 12.

“The poll findings confirm that Americans overwhelmingly support limits on methane pollution,” said Shelly Kiser, Director of Advocacy for the American Lung Association in Ohio. “The new methane limits will not only help in the fight against climate change, but also protect the health of Ohio families from the risks of toxic air pollutants.”

According to the national poll, 60 percent of Americans favor the protections to reduce methane emissions from new and modified oil and gas facilities. Support stretches across all parts of the country and across nearly all demographics. Women and men in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West all overwhelmingly support the new standards. More broadly, 66 percent of voters favor the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updating standards with stricter limits on air pollution.

The EPA limits announced last month will significantly reduce methane and other toxic chemical emissions from new and modified oil and gas facilities nationwide. Methane is one of the most potent climate change pollutants, and warmer average temperatures can increase the risk of unhealthy ozone levels here in Ohio, which can cause serious respiratory harm.

“When voters heard balanced arguments from both sides, we saw the support for methane standards holding steady at 59 percent in favor,” said Andrew Baumann, Vice President of Global Strategy Group. “In the minds of an overwhelming majority of American voters, an argument touting the health and economic benefits of the new methane limits clearly outweighed the industry’s claims that these regulations would cost jobs and increase energy costs.”

In 2025, the new methane standards will reduce an estimated 510,000 short tons of methane and reduce 210,000 tons of ozone-forming volatile organic compounds, including 3,900 tons of air toxics such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. The new emission reductions will help protect those who are most vulnerable to air pollution, such as infants, children and teenagers; older adults; people with asthma and other lung diseases; people with cardiovascular disease; people with low incomes; and healthy adults who work or exercise outdoors.

Key poll findings include:

  • Three-fifths of voters favor EPA’s new standards on methane from the oil and gas industry.
  • Voters’ support for strong limits shows up nationwide. At least 57 percent of voters in every region of the country favor the new methane standards.
  • Support for the methane pollution limits spans across gender and race, with male and female, and black, white and Hispanic voters all supporting the standards by nearly 60 percent.
  • Voters strongly support the need to reduce methane pollution from new oil and gas facilities after hearing balanced arguments from both sides (59 percent to 34 percent).

The analysis memo and poll questions from Global Strategy Group can be found online.

Methodology: This survey was conducted for the American Lung Association by Global Strategy Group. Global Strategy Group partnered with Princeton Survey Research Associates International to include these questions on a nationwide survey conducted from May 19 to 22, 2016, among 1,002 adults, including 764 registered voters. The margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/- 4.3 percentage points among registered voters. Care has been taken to ensure that the partisan, geographic, and demographic divisions of the nationwide electorate are properly represented by the survey’s respondents.

Staff Report

Reach the American Lung Association at 1-800-LUNGUSA.