Poll: Upton’s war against EPA climate rules unpopular at home

His legislation passed the House in early April with 19 Democrats joining Republicans in support. The same plan fell short in the Senate, but Upton has repeatedly vowed continued efforts in this Congress to thwart EPA rules.

Upton, who was first elected in 1986, was easily reelected in 2010 with 62 percent of the vote. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report lists his southwest Michigan seat in the “Solid Republican” camp – Cook’s designation for the safest seats – heading into 2012.

But the polling memo obtained by The Hill shows that 48 percent believe Upton’s vote to “alter the Clean Air Act” shows that he is more concerned with special interests, while 31 percent say he is more concerned for his constituents.

The NRDC Action Fund poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus three percent. The NRDC Action Fund is the political and advocacy affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a major environmental group.

Critics of EPA climate rules – which the agency has begun phasing in on a limited basis – allege they will create costly burdens for businesses, hamper the economy and raise consumer energy costs.

But advocates call the efforts to scuttle them an affront to the scientific consensus that global warming is under way. Supporters also say that fears of costly burdens are very overstated, pointing out that the benefits of past Clean Air Act programs have greatly outweighed costs.

Here’s how the NRDC Action Fund poll set up the question about whether constituents support Upton’s plan to block the EPA regulations:

Michigan Congressman Fred Upton is promoting a proposal that would block the EPA from limiting carbon dioxide pollution. Some, like the National Association of Manufacturers, say Congress should block the EPA because “EPA’s overregulation threatens manufacturers, businesses and jobs throughout America. Its actions will increase manufacturers’ energy costs and make it more difficult to compete.” Others, like the American Lung Association, say Congress should not block the EPA because doing so “would strip away Clean Air Act protections that safeguard Americans and their families from air pollution that puts their lives at risk.” Knowing these two points of view, would you support or oppose Congress blocking the EPA, or are you not sure?

The poll also found that 59 percent said Congress should “let EPA do its job” on greenhouse gases, while 28 percent said Congress should decide how and when the emissions should be regulated.

The question was set up as a collision between the oil industry and public health advocates. From the polling memo:

Some say Congress should step in and prevent the EPA from limiting carbon dioxide pollution. For example, the head of the America Petroleum Institute says Congress should decide when and how greenhouse gases should be regulated. But others say Congress should let EPA do its job. The head of the American Public Health Association says that blocking the EPA’s work to reduce carbon dioxide could mean the difference between a healthy life for many Americans or chronic debilitating illness. Which opinion do you support?

--This post was updated at 9:49 a.m.