Newt’s Unpopular Anti-EPA Crusade

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


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

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.