Hunters, anglers back EPA's clean water rule, poll finds

Hunters, anglers back EPA's clean water rule, poll finds
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More than eight in 10 hunters and anglers surveyed support one of the Obama administration’s most controversial environmental rules, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The poll commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation found that 82 percent of hunters and anglers support the Environmental Protection Agency’s "Waters of the United States" rule, which gives the agency the authority to protect wetlands, headwaters and small water bodies from pollution under the Clean Water Act.

Public Opinion Strategies in partnership with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner surveyed from June 23 to July 4 1,000 registered voters who hunt or fish. Support for the rule was strong on both sides of the aisle with 77 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of Independents and 97 percent of Democrats in favor of the rule.

Lawmakers, however, have been working to overturn the rule since it was finalized in May. President Obama has threatened to veto legislation that passed the House in May, but a similar bill that would force the EPA to re-craft the rule made headway in the Senate when it passed through a committe last month. 

"As every hunter or angler knows, ducks need healthy wetlands and fish need clean water — it’s that simple,” Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said in a news release. “Everyone on Capitol Hill should take note: clean water has the bipartisan support of millions of sportsmen and women across our nation — and these men and women vote.”

The poll found that 75 percent of hunters and anglers view EPA application of the Clean Water Act to smaller streams and wetlands as more of a safeguard than a burdensome regulation, and almost half of those surveyed, 47 percent, say that water quality and fish and wildlife habitat issues are of primary importance when deciding who they’re going to vote for.