Poll: Nearly half say government too lax on environment

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The 47 percent who would support additional government action is down slightly from the poll's 2012 findings, when 51 percent wanted government to do more.

The poll’s broader trend suggests a steady decrease in support for more environmental protection. During the period from 2000-2006, more than half the country routinely supported additional intervention.

The poll’s results come as the Obama administration gears up for a new fight with congressional Republicans over the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new draft rules on auto emissions and low-sulfur gasoline aimed at reducing air pollution.

The EPA unveiled the long-awaited rules on Friday, but the measures are facing staunch GOP opposition. Republicans in Congress and the oil industry say the new rules will burden companies and stick consumers with higher prices at the pump.

Green groups, though, have cheered the rules, praising the White House for tackling air pollution, which the EPA says results in billions in healthcare-related costs.

The Gallup poll shows just 27 percent of Republicans believe the government is over-prioritizing the environment, with 33 percent saying more can be done. Thirty-five percent say the government’s efforts are just right.

Democrats are far more likely to support further protection, with 59 percent saying government is doing too little to 2 percent who say too much. Thirty-eight percent say government’s efforts to protect the environment are at the right level.

The Gallup poll was conducted from March 7 to 10 and has a 4-point margin of error.