President Bush stresses new technologies. There has been a lot of dissatisfaction among conservatives over the new Bush approach but I lean to the view that it was the best way of averting a greater folly from Congress. So a comment by someone as politically savvy as Senator Inhofe has considerable interest
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, issued the following statement in response to President Bush's statement in which he set out a new intermediate national goal for stopping the growth of greenhouse gas emissions:
"I applaud the President for outlining a bold alternative climate initiative that rejects the concept that the United States must adopt economically ruinous cap-and-trade legislation such as the Lieberman-Warner bill that would significantly drive up the already skyrocketing cost of energy on the American public," Senator Inhofe said. "Today, as American families and American workers are faced with an economic downturn, the slumping housing market, and rising gas prices, they are unlikely to tolerate a `de-stimulus' climate bill that will not have the sponsors' purported impact on temperatures but will further exacerbate economic pain.
"Rather, the President outlined the only politically and economically sustainable path forward, one that embraces and develops new technologies. I have long advocated a technology approach that brings in the developing world nations such as China and India as the only viable approach. The President is right, as Oklahoma demonstrates; tomorrow's energy mix must include more natural gas, wind and geothermal, but it must also include oil, coal, and nuclear energy, which is the world's largest source of emission-free energy. The President's approach serves multiple purposes - it will reduce air pollution, expand our energy supply, increase trade, and, along with these other goals, reduce greenhouse gases.
"Over the past year we have watched as liberal special interests have employed hundreds of lawyers to try and convert current environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act into climate laws. Their attempt to list the polar bear as a threatened species is not about protecting the bear but about using the ESA to achieve global warming policy that they cannot otherwise achieve through the legislative process. The implications of such a policy would lead to drastic increases in litigation and eager lawyers ready to find ways to shut down energy production.
The First Commandment of climate-change politics is that you can never be green enough - as President Bush learns anew every time he even attempts to address the issue. Critics were quick to claim a victory of sorts after his Rose Garden speech yesterday, while at the same time carrying on about half-measures and delay on "the planetary emergency."
Mr. Bush, however, made few departures from current policy. His larger purpose was to join a debate that so far has been conducted in a reality vacuum, and to force the global warmists to take responsibility for the carbon and greenhouse-gas regulation they say they favor. The major policy revelation was Mr. Bush's announcement that the U.S. would seek to level off the growth of emissions by 2025. The Administration is setting this target in advance of the "major economies" summit this weekend in Paris. Participating are the 17 largest world-wide emitters, and the diplomatic mission is to persuade each, including China and India, to set its own reduction goals, or "aspirations."
One virtue of this process is that it bypasses current negotiations for a post-2012 Kyoto follow-up and dumps the mandates, global bureaucracies and sanctions that the United Nations would impose. Mr. Bush emphasized that the U.S. goal could be reasonably achieved (at least in theory) with the portfolio of binding and voluntary measures already in place domestically, perhaps with some adjustments at the margins and assuming advancements in clean technology. The President emphasized, too, the importance of nuclear power and the obstacles to fossil-fuel generation that provide more than 80% of current energy needs.
Greens are already deriding the goal as not enough, which may be one measure of its realism. A benefit of the major-economies route is to raise questions about what can be practically obtained, and at what cost. If the world is really serious about diminishing emissions, then China, India and other developing nations must be linked in. If every rich country cut emissions to zero tomorrow, the effect on global atmospheric CO2 concentrations would be at best negligible. So a strategy of incremental, feasible improvements is better than a one-sided infliction of costs on the U.S.
The political risk of a target and deadline is that it lends credence to a binding limit on carbon emissions, which is the premise of Congressional efforts to lay down a cap-and-trade program. The target will begin to squeeze the energy sectors today, while the expected technologies, such as carbon sequestration and cleaner burning generators, remain in the laboratory and may never materialize on a commercial scale.
The Administration's prior support for Beltway energy superstitions led to policy failures such as the biofuels and fuel-economy mandates. That said, the Administration has set carbon-reduction goals before - the 2002 concessions and the more recent "20-in-10" program. Billons in subsidies and tax preferences are now available for alternative technology. This is a preferable model (if often wasteful) to the command-and-control now fomenting on Capitol Hill.
Although U.S. CO2 emissions grew by only 2% between 2000 and 2005, everyone believes a major global warming bill is inevitable, and maybe it is. The rationale for yesterday's speech was to acknowledge these political realities but also to pair them with economic ones, expanding the debate to include costs as well as benefits.
Incompatible as it might be with liberal promises about painless global-warming controls, cap-and-trade is designed to disrupt the economy. The only signal that will tell consumers to make less carbon-intensive energy choices is higher prices. An analysis by American Council for Capital Formation and the National Association of Manufacturers of the Senate bill sponsored by Joe Lieberman and John Warner, likely to be the template for future Congressional action, concludes that it will result in as much as a 2.6% reduction in GDP by 2030.
Mr. Bush also went after the Democrats and green activists ginning up a regulatory crisis. Judicial interventions and political pressure are forcing regulators to retrofit existing environmental laws to incorporate global warming - costly purposes for which they were never intended. This effort has been appalling even when graded on the usual Congressional curve of self-interest and buck-passing. Democrats want to take credit for crowd-pleasing goals while shifting the blame for the costs achieving them onto unaccountable bureaucrats. But if a cap-and-trade program really is coming, then lawmakers should, well, make laws.
The White House deserves credit for playing the political hand in front of it. It would have been easy enough to abdicate responsibility to the next occupant of the Oval Office, who will be far more likely to wave aside economic considerations in the interests of "doing something." The Bush stance gives the GOP some political guideposts for the coming argument, and someone from the McCain policy shop ought to be paying attention.
A Maverick Climate Policy
Republican nominee for president John McCain recently returned from a whirlwind tour of Europe meant to promote his global statesmanship. In Europe, he met with leaders such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and even published opinion pieces in major French and English newspapers that outlined his global vision. Central to that vision is global warming. In his contribution to the French paper Le Monde, McCain gave the fight against climate change equal billing with the war on terror. He warned that Americans and Europeans "will hand over a much-diminished world to our grandchildren" if they do not "get serious" about climate change.
McCain, who once admitted that he "doesn't really understand economics," claimed the solution to the "looming threat" of climate change is to "unleash the power and innovation of the marketplace." Unfortunately, McCain's plan fails to free anything. In fact, his big government climate policy would mitigate not global warming but economic growth.
Some background: Four years ago, Senator McCain co-sponsored-with the then-Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut-the Climate Stewardship Act, a so-called "cap and trade" program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Act was updated in 2007, and is now one of several cap and trade proposals being debated in Congress. Like all cap and trade policies, this would require central planning of the economy. Starting in 2012, the government would assign emissions quotas (caps) to thousands of industrial users and suppliers of energy. Because emissions are synonymous with energy use, McCain's climate plan would be America's first energy rationing program since the oil crises of the early 1970s.
Businesses would receive part of their emissions rations free of charge, but they would have to purchase the rest from a government-run auction. Over time, emissions quotas would get smaller, until 2050, when aggregate emissions are capped at about a third of what they are now. As the cap shrinks, companies would have to find new ways to cut their carbon footprint. In any given year, if a company's emissions exceed its quota, it could avoid a penalty by purchasing surplus emission rights from a business that beat its target.
McCAIN BRAGS ABOUT his "leadership" on the global warming issue, so he must believe that his Climate Stewardship Act makes for good politics. That's likely to change once voters learn more about the plan. For one thing, evidence suggests that controlling billions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from thousands of sources is too complex for government bureaucracies to handle. For example, in Phase I of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme, which started three years ago, a huge misallocation of emissions quotas led to a collapse in the price of carbon from $40 to 40 cents. At that price, there was no incentive to reduce emissions, which is why Phase I was an abject failure.
Even a functioning cap could have only a limited effect on emissions. Energy-intensive industries would have every incentive to move their operations to countries without carbon controls, like China. As a result, McCain's plan would cause a net reduction not of greenhouse gas emissions, but of American jobs.
Again, the European example is illustrative. Last month, the European Commission announced it will probably exempt Europe's steel, chemical, and power sectors from Phase II of the Emissions Trading Scheme because "it is not in the interest of the European Union that in the future production moves to countries with less strict emissions limits." But without those high-emission sectors, what possible good can come of a cap and trade scheme? Or maybe we should ask whose good? The Arizona senator's plan might not shrink emissions, but it will surely grow government. Under the Climate Stewardship Act, companies must buy an increasing portion of their annual emissions allotment from a government-run auction that would raise billions of dollars.
McCain does not offset this increase in government revenue with tax cuts elsewhere in the budget, so government would get bigger. He has said that he wants to promote "green jobs," and indeed he would be doing so, by adding green bureaucrats. Ultimately, the burden of the bill would fall upon American consumers. Industry cannot simply absorb the losses imposed upon it by McCain's energy rationing plan. Instead, as noted in a 2007 Congressional Budget Office study, "much of the cost of a cap and trade would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for energy intensive goods."
In addition to mandatory emissions caps, McCain's bill would establish one of the largest ever government research programs, to develop clean energy technology. But government-funded research is unlikely to achieve a clean energy technological breakthrough because politicians are poor judges of which technologies show the most promise. If they were any good at picking winners, they would probably be venture capitalists. Remember, government has a long history of failed energy initiatives. Synfuels have remained unaffordable for half a century, despite generous government support. The 1970s energy crisis prompted Congress to establish the Solar Energy Research Institute; a generation later, solar power is still far from competitive. And just last month the White House shelved plans for FutureGen, a multi-billion-dollar clean-coal power plant prototype.
McCAIN CLAIMS THE Climate Stewardship Act is a market-based solution to global warming. It is anything but. He would have the government cap emissions; create the emissions market and rake off the profits; and control clean energy research. If he really wants to put forward free market alternatives, they do exist. He could advocate the elimination of government market interventions that obstruct emission reductions and discourage the adoption of lower emission technologies. To wit, the way the electricity market works now-centralized electricity production transmitted over great distances to consumers-is grossly inefficient. This wasteful model will persist only as long as government forbids competition in electricity transmission and distribution. Deregulation of the electricity grid would allow entrepreneurs to profit by making the system more energy efficient, and thus more environmentally friendly.
Then there's nuclear power. It leaves virtually no carbon footprint, but plant construction has slowed to a virtual halt because of the regulatory burden imposed on nuclear energy by local and federal governments. Lightening this burden would allow nuclear to compete properly with coal and natural gas, again to the benefit of the climate.
Another effective free market solution is expensing-the removal of tax penalties on capital investment. By allowing companies to write off more of their investments sooner, expensing would encourage rapid turnover of plants and equipment. In general, newer facilities are more productive than older units, delivering more output per unit of input. Expensing would accelerate carbon intensity decline-without dreaded energy rationing.
Natural gas has half the carbon footprint of coal. There is enough of it off the Gulf Coast to power American industry for 30 years, but it remains locked away because the federal government refuses to open it up to exploration. A certain someone could pressure his colleagues to do just that.
Congress is considering several climate bills, all of which include cap and trade schemes along the lines of McCain's American jobs killing proposal. If the Arizona senator wants to be a true maverick, he should buck the trend that he helped start-by supporting free market solutions to global warming that might actually make a difference.
Our Climate Numbers Are a Big Old Mess
By PATRICK MICHAELS
President George W. Bush has just announced his goal to stabilize greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025. To get there, he proposes new fuel-economy standards for autos, and lower emissions from power plants built in the next 10 to 15 years. Pending legislation in the Senate from Joe Lieberman and John Warner would cut emissions even further - by 66% by 2050. No one has a clue how to do this. Because there is no substitute technology to achieve these massive reductions, we'll just have to get by with less energy. Compared to a year ago, gasoline consumption has dropped only 0.5% at current prices. So imagine how expensive it would be to reduce overall emissions by 66%.
The earth's paltry warming trend, 0.31 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since the mid-1970s, isn't enough to scare people into poverty. And even that 0.31 degree figure is suspect. For years, records from surface thermometers showed a global warming trend beginning in the late 1970s. But temperatures sensed by satellites and weather balloons displayed no concurrent warming.
These records have been revised a number of times, and I examined the two major revisions of these three records. They are the surface record from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the satellite-sensed temperatures originally published by University of Alabama's John Christy, and the weather-balloon records originally published by James Angell of the U.S. Commerce Department.
The two revisions of the IPCC surface record each successively lowered temperatures in the 1950s and the 1960s. The result? Obviously more warming - from largely the same data. The balloon temperatures got a similar treatment. While these originally showed no warming since the late 1970s, inclusion of all the data beginning in 1958 resulted in a slight warming trend. In 2003, some tropical balloon data, largely from poor countries, were removed because their records seemed to vary too much from year to year. This change also resulted in an increased warming trend. Another check for quality control in 2005 created further warming, doubling the initial overall rate.
Then it was discovered that our orbiting satellites have a few faults. The sensors don't last very long and are continually being supplanted by replacement orbiters. The instruments are calibrated against each other, so if one is off, so is the whole record. Frank Wentz, a consulting atmospheric scientist from California, discovered that the satellites also drift a bit in their orbits, which induces additional bias in their readings. The net result? A warming trend appears where before there was none.
There have been six major revisions in the warming figures in recent years, all in the same direction. So it's like flipping a coin six times and getting tails each time. The chance of that occurring is 0.016, or less than one in 50. That doesn't mean that these revisions are all hooey, but the probability that they would all go in one direction on the merits is pretty darned small.
The removal of weather-balloon data because poor nations don't do a good job of minding their weather instruments deserves more investigation, which is precisely what University of Guelph economist Ross McKitrick and I did. Last year we published our results in the Journal of Geophysical Research, showing that "non-climatic" effects in land-surface temperatures - GDP per capita, among other things - exert a significant influence on the data. For example, weather stations are supposed to be a standard white color. If they darken from lack of maintenance, temperatures read higher than they actually are. After adjusting for such effects, as much as half of the warming in the U.N.'s land-based record vanishes. Because about 70% of earth's surface is water, this could mean a reduction of as much as 15% in the global warming trend.
Another interesting thing happens to the U.N.'s data when it's adjusted for the non-climatic factors. The frequency of very warm months is lowered, to the point at which it matches the satellite data, which show fewer very hot months. That's a pretty good sign that there are fundamental problems with the surface temperature history. At any rate, our findings have not been incorporated into the IPCC's history, and they probably never will be.
The fear of a sudden loss of ice from Greenland also makes a lot of news. A year ago, radio and television were ablaze with the discovery of "Warming Island," a piece of land thought to be part of Greenland. But when the ice receded in the last few years, it turned out that there was open water. Hence Warming Island, which some said hadn't been uncovered for thousands of years. CNN, ABC and the BBC made field trips to the island.
But every climatologist must know that Greenland's last decade was no warmer than several decades in the early and mid-20th century. In fact, the period from 1970-1995 was the coldest one since the late 19th century, meaning that Greenland's ice anomalously expanded right about the time climate change scientists decided to look at it.
Warming Island has a very distinctive shape, and it lies off of Carlsbad Fjord, in eastern Greenland. My colleague Chip Knappenberger found an inconvenient book, "Arctic Riviera," published in 1957 (near the end of the previous warm period) by aerial photographer Ernst Hofer. Hofer did reconnaissance for expeditions and was surprised by how pleasant the summers had become. There's a map in his book: It shows Warming Island.
The mechanism for the [prophesied] Greenland disaster is that summer warming creates rivers, called moulins, that descend into the ice cap, lubricating a rapid collapse and raising sea levels by 20 feet in the next 90 years. In Al Gore's book, "An Inconvenient Truth," there's a wonderful picture of a moulin on page 193, with the text stating "These photographs from Greenland illustrate some of the dramatic changes now happening on the ice there." Really? There's a photograph in the journal "Arctic," published in 1953 by R.H. Katz, captioned "River disappearing in 40-foot deep gorge," on Greenland's Adolf Hoels Glacier. It's all there in the open literature, but apparently that's too inconvenient to bring up. Greenland didn't shed its ice then. There was no acceleration of the rise in sea level.
Finally, no one seems to want to discuss that for millennia after the end of the last ice age, the Eurasian arctic was several degrees warmer in summer (when ice melts) than it is now. We know this because trees are buried in areas that are now too cold to support them. Back then, the forest extended all the way to the Arctic Ocean, which is now completely surrounded by tundra. If it was warmer for such a long period, why didn't Greenland shed its ice?
This prompts the ultimate question: Why is the news on global warming always bad? Perhaps because there's little incentive to look at things the other way. If you do, you're liable to be pilloried by your colleagues. If global warming isn't such a threat, who needs all that funding? Who needs the army of policy wonks crawling around the world with bold plans to stop climate change? But as we face the threat of massive energy taxes - raised by perceptions of increasing rates of warming and the sudden loss of Greenland's ice - we should be talking about reality.
At least some plankton thrive with more CO2
The ocean acidification scare is now steadily becoming unstuck. The alarmists must be going crazy. They lost warming/hurricanes as a talking point last week and they continue to lose coral reefs as researchers discovered earlier this week that corals are flourishing after a direct Atomic bomb explosion in the Pacific Atoll of Bikini. Now the alarmists have lost plankton as a talking point!
Most concerns about growing emissions of carbon dioxide have focused on the gas's heat-trapping effect on climate. But ocean experts have increasingly warned that the direct chemical impact on marine life, as carbon dioxide dissolves in water and lowers its pH, could profoundly disrupt ecosystems by interfering with the growth of reefs and shell-forming plankton.
Now, though, a new laboratory study has shown that some types of plankton thrive in water with a low pH created by greatly raising concentrations of carbon dioxide. The plankton that demonstrated this unexpected ability are certain coccolithopores, single-celled plants that are sheathed in Frisbee-like plates rich in calcium. They are a cornerstone of ocean ecosystems and play a significant role, as they die and sink, in taking carbon out of circulation and locking it away in rock.
The study, led by Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez of Britain's National Oceanography Center, was published today in Science Express, the online edition of Science. It focused on laboratory tests in which coccolithophores were grown in water made more acidic by infusing it with bubbles of air with elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide. But the study also assessed long-term records of changes in the mass of the individual calcium plates, or coccoliths, which accumulate on the sea bed. Here's what the researchers found:
"Field evidence from the deep ocean is consistent with these laboratory conclusions, indicating that over the past 220 years there has been a 40-percent increase in average coccolith mass. Our findings show that coccolithophores are already responding and will probably continue to respond to rising atmospheric CO2.."
The researchers, noting they only looked at one species, said the work suggests that the organisms could double their rate of photosynthesis and calcium uptake in carbon dioxide concentrations around double the current level of 380 parts per million. They stressed this was a rough projection and did not account for a vast range of variables in ocean conditions to come.
Phytoplankton Calcification in a High-CO2 World
By M. Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez et al.
Ocean acidification in response to rising atmospheric CO2 partial pressures is widely expected to reduce calcification by marine organisms. From the mid-Mesozoic, coccolithophores have been major calcium carbonate producers in the world's oceans, today accounting for about a third of the total marine CaCO3 production. Here, we present laboratory evidence that calcification and net primary production in the coccolithophore species Emiliania huxleyi are significantly increased by high CO2 partial pressures. Field evidence from the deep ocean is consistent with these laboratory conclusions, indicating that over the past 220 years there has been a 40% increase in average coccolith mass. Our findings show that coccolithophores are already responding and will probably continue to respond to rising atmospheric CO2 partial pressures, which has important implications for biogeochemical modeling of future oceans and climate.
Science 18 April 2008: Vol. 320. no. 5874, pp. 336 - 340
Teenage Skeptic Takes on Climate Scientists
Pretty surprising to see this on NPR
If you're a scientist trying to convince people they are making the world warmer, Kristen Byrnes is your worst nightmare. She's articulate, intelligent, she has a Web site, and one day her people will be running the world. Her people, meaning 16-year-olds. Kristen's Web site, "Ponder the Maunder," has made her a celebrity among climate skeptics. After she posted a critique of Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth, her Web site got so many hits the family's internet service provider sent them a warning.
Her story may dismay mainstream scientists, but plenty of people are friendly to her ideas. In one poll last year, only about 50 percent of people agreed humans were contributing to global warming. The other half either disagreed, weren't sure or didn't believe the Earth was warming in the first place.
"I don't remember how old I was when I started getting into global warming," Kristen says. "In middle school I remember everyone was like: 'Global warming! The world is going to end!' Stuff like that ... so I never really believed in it."
On the March afternoon I visited, there was still snow on the ground in Maine, and Kristen padded around the house wearing green furry slippers. She earns top grades in school. (Her step-dad, Mike Carson, proudly shows them off.) And she has a quality scientists try to cultivate: she is skeptical. Has someone made a claim? She wants to see the data. So about a year ago, when she was 15, she started to look at the scientific evidence. When she got confused, she consulted Mike. Soon they had printed out a mound of technical documents from the Internet.
Kristen was convinced by the skeptics and she began to write, summarizing their arguments adding her own touches. Yes, she says, the Earth is warming. But no, humans aren't causing it. She says it's part of the natural climate cycle. At some point, Mike and Kristen decided to post her work online. "I felt it was important to inform people that this wasn't completely true," Kristen says. "A public service to let people know."
Mike set up the Web site and Kristen's mom, Tammy Byrnes, typed. Soon "Ponder the Maunder" was born. Kristen admits the title is a little obscure. It's a reference to a dip in solar activity in the 1600s known as the "Maunder minimum." Her Web site includes charts of temperature records, El Nino indexes, isotope measurements. Skeptics loved it: A 15-year-old attacking the mainstream scientific view. "It took off like wildfire," Mike says, "But that was nothing compared to when her Al Gore critique went up."
Kristen had no fear. She took on Al Gore the Nobel laureate, Academy Award winner and former vice president. She went after Jim Hansen, one of NASA's top climate scientists. E-mail poured in, mostly from skeptics happy a young person had taken up the cause.
"I got a letter in the mail on my birthday from a senator," she says. Someone runs off into another room to track it down and returns with an envelope from the office of Sen. James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican famous for calling global warming a hoax. "Dear Kristen," the letter begins. "Thank you so much for your letter and e-mail and for your kind words. I appreciate your help in the fight against global warming alarmism. You are a common sense young lady and an inspiration to me. I want you to keep up the good work. We are winning."
Mainstream scientists would argue that many of the issues on her Web site are red herrings or have been put to rest - and Kristen did get emails from people challenging her science. But after a few exchanges, she says, her opponents backed down. "A few of them gave up and figured they can't win against a 15-year-old," she says. Mike laughs as she says this.
Kristen says when her determination sagged, Mike encouraged her. "Kristen! MOTIVATION!" she remembers him saying. Mike is deeply skeptical humans are behind global warming and pulls up a graph on the computer to help make the case. And the truth is, for people who want to get down into the details, climate change science can get very hairy. There are oceans to consider, which can absorb heat, water vapor and cloud cover to account for.
Much of the evidence comes from detailed computer models. Scientists disagree on some of the details. A handful do not think the case has been made. But the overwhelming consensus is that humans are causing global warming, and the consequences could be serious.
Despite Kristen's online celebrity, she doesn't talk about climate change much with her friends. During lunch at a local chowder house with her friend Chrissy Flanders, they talked about food and friends and clothes. So it came as somewhat of a surprise when Chrissy piped up to say she disagreed with Kristen on climate change. "I think it's partly because of humans," she says. Asked why she believes that she says she doesn't know. Kristen chimes in: "She just believes what everyone else is making her believe."
It's probably fair to say that most people - even those who have strong opinions about global warming - couldn't make a strong scientific argument for why they believe what they believe. Most of us delegate, decide to believe someone we trust. We don't actively seek out the other side. We probably wouldn't know what to make of it, or how to reconcile the two. Who has time? Or the expertise?
Kristen is getting out of the climate-change business. She thinks she would like to become an architect - maybe even build energy-efficient "green" buildings. She does not see herself as an environmentalist, though. She says that makes her think of hippies.
Americans Reject Proposed Expansion of Clean Water Act, Poll Shows
A majority of Americans oppose the Oberstar/Feingold Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA), according to a nationwide survey by Wilson Research Strategies for the National Center for Public Policy Research. CWRA will receive a hearing of the full House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at 11 AM today.
In the survey, voters were informed the Congress is considering a measure that would expand the areas covered under the Clean Water Act, including to areas that are only intermittently wet. They were then provided brief arguments both for and against the measure and asked if they favored or opposed the proposal. 54% of those with an opinion opposed the measure, while 46% favor it. Among political independents, opposition was higher -- 56% opposed, 44% in support.
"The Clean Water Restoration Act would submit nearly every drop of water in the United States to federal regulation," said David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "It's not surprising that the American people have great reservations about such a massive increase in federal power."
The poll found a majority of Americans from all regions oppose the Clean Water Restoration Act, led by the Mountain States (62%), the Farm Belt (59%), and New England (58%).
"The Clean Water Restoration Act would be an enormous burden on farmers, ranchers, home and land owners and to business," said Ridenour, "and also to boaters, hunters, anglers, shooting sports enthusiasts and other outdoor recreationists. If you think natural resources should be enjoyed, you can think again if this proposal becomes law."
The poll was conducted by Wilson Research Strategies, which surveyed 800 registered voters who are likely to vote in the 2008 presidential election.
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