Washington voters across the board support state environmental protections, according to a new statewide poll conducted jointly by Democratic and Republican polling firms. Despite these findings, right now bills undermining environmental protections are advancing in the state Legislature and there are efforts to weaken policies that have broad voter support.
The poll was commissioned by the state’s Environmental Priorities Coalition and conducted by Democratic polling firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates and Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.
“Washington voters clearly believe environmental protections are integral to our state’s quality of life and economy,” said Brendon Cechovic, Executive Director of Washington Conservation Voters. “Those trying to undo our state’s environmental safeguards are not representing their constituents’ needs or wishes.”
Top poll findings include:
- Voters believe environmental regulations are important safeguards that improve public health, safety and our economy; they oppose rolling those regulations back.
- Voters overwhelmingly support the Toxic-Free Kids Act (SB 6120), which would protect children from toxic chemicals.
- Voters continue to back Washington’s clean energy law, established by voters’ Initiative 937, and by wide margins want it maintained rather than weakened.
Nearly 61 percent of Washington voters consider themselves environmentalists and almost everyone – 86 percent– sees no contradiction between a healthy environment and a strong economy. Voters reject the notion that we must roll back environmental protections to bring back jobs. Only 30% percent of voters think reducing environmental regulation will create jobs.
More than three-out-of-four Washington voters want to maintain current environmental regulations, according to the poll. However, despite this broad public support, the Legislature is moving forward with several bills that would roll back our environmental protections. The biggest threat to Washington’s environment currently comes from SB 6406, legislation that would gut the Growth Management Act (the law that protects our state from sprawl), make several major policy changes to the State Environmental Policy Act, affect forest protections, and could be amended to delay laws that would prevent polluted runoff from entering Puget Sound and waterways across the state.
The Toxic-Free Kids Act (SB 6120) has passed the Senate, but in a substantially weakened form, despite the 84 percent of Washington voters that support the legislation. The Priorities Coalition is working to return the bill to its original form, so it includes a phase-out of the most-used flame retardant, chlorinated Tris, as well as the requirement that companies determine whether safer alternatives are available. Without a stronger bill, cancer-causing chemicals will continue to threaten the health of Washington children.