Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Public Support for Clean Water

Americans overwhelmingly want the federal government to spend more money to make sure water quality improves in places such as Long Island Sound. That's what two polling firms – one Republican, the other primarily Democratic – learned when they teamed up to ask about environmental issues. The Long Island Press carried a story by the Environmental News Service:

The survey put this question to respondents, "Generally speaking, which of the following programs do you think is in greatest need of a dedicated trust fund that would guarantee federal money to help state and local governments pay for maintenance and improvements?"
Clean and safe water got 71 percent of the positive responses, roads and highways got 20 percent, while airports and aviation got a three percent positive response. This result was found across red states and blue states.

On the other hand, according to ENS:

The Bush administration has proposed to cut clean water funding from the EPA’s budget for fiscal year 2006 by $500 million—from $8.1 billion to $7.6 billion. Most of this reduction would be achieved by a proposed cut of $360 million (from $1.09 billion to $730 million) to the agency’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program.

The revolving fund, a loan program that helps local communities repair and replace aging wastewater treatment plants, has been the primary source of federal support for clean water infrastructure projects since its creation in 1987.

Studies by the EPA, the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office, and the Water Infrastructure Network estimate a water infrastructure funding gap exceeding $300 billion over the next 20 years.

Luntz Research Companies, whose principal, Frank Luntz is the bane of progressives because of his purported ability to create buzz phrases that resound with voters, and Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates conducted the poll.


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