Siena poll: Majority of New Yorkers are ‘very’ concerned about pollution

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FILE – The Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo., Friday, July 27, 2018. The Trump administration has weakened an Obama-era rule aimed at stopping coal plant pollution that has contaminated streams, lakes and underground aquifers. The changes finalized Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, will allow utilities to use cheaper wastewater cleanup technologies and take longer to comply with pollution reduction guidelines adopted in 2015. Its the latest in a string of regulatory rollbacks for the coal power industry under Trump. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On the 51st anniversary of the first Earth Day, the latest poll from the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI) says that 64 percent of New Yorkers are very concerned about water pollution, 61 percent with air pollution, 60 percent with deforestation, and 56 percent are very concerned about climate change.

The research institute adds that large majorities support redesigning cities to be more pedestrian friendly, promote the widespread use of electric cars, have New York produce 100 percent of its electricity with zero-emissions by 2040 and the U.S. rejoining the Paris Climate Accords.

When it comes to how environmental policies will affect the economy, 60 percent believe they will help.

“New Yorkers, by over two-to-one, believe policies designed to protect the environment are more likely to help rather than hurt the economy,” according to SCRI Director, Don Levy. “Just under 60 percent say that we are at the point of no return and if our government, businesses and population don’t actively address the threats to our environment, we will do irreparable damage to our planet.”

“While Democrats overwhelmingly support pro-environmental policies, believe those policies will spur economic activity and think failing to protect the environment will lead to irreversible harm, Republicans disagree,” Levy said. “Not only does a majority of Republicans think that pro-environmental policies will hurt the economy, but nearly two-thirds despite supporting efforts to protect clean water and air, say that we’re doing as much as we should and doing too much is too expensive for us and our nation.”

Levy says a majority of state residents are very concerned about water pollution, air pollution, deforestation and climate change, half are very concerned about the loss of biodiversity and a large majority is either very or somewhat concerned about waste disposal and over population.

Seventy percent of state residents very often recycle waste including paper, cardboard and plastic and 69 percent use reusable bags. Nearly half “very often” try to conserve water and conserve electricity by lessening their use.

Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District awarded $380K

“While New Yorkers are very concerned about many environmental issues including pollution and climate change, not everyone is doing all the everyday activities that contribute to conservation,” Levy said. “Sure, most of us are recycling and using reusable bags, but only half of us are fully committed to conserving water, electricity and using reusable beverage containers.”

Read the whole Siena Poll online.

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