While the president and Republicans in Washington are calling for fewer environmental regulations, a new poll of Virginians shows support for federal protections of clean air and water.
The Virginia Environmental Endowment has been tracking of public attitudes for 20 years, and the latest round of polling shows people think our air, land and water are getting cleaner.
“In 1997 and 2009, the average grade was a C. It bumped up to a C+ in 2011, and it’s bumped up to a B in 2017,” says Quentin Kidd with the Wason for Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.
Despite their optimism, Kidd found Virginians want more protection for the environment, with the state offering incentives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by power plants and to preserve farm land and open space. They also worry about streams, rivers, lakes and the quality of drinking water.
“Virginians are most concerned about issues related to water quality. They are strongly supportive of the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay,” he said. “That care is distributed across the state.”
In the poll of 826 registered voters, Kidd also found 73% consider the environment a priority, and if it came to a choice between economic development and natural resources, 69% of those surveyed would favor the environment.