An Inconvenient Poll

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

According to a recent poll commissioned by several environmental groups, only two percent of Oregonians think that auto emissions are the greatest environmental issue facing Oregon today. They correctly understand that automobile pollution has been steadily falling for decades.

Yet the governor’s Environmental Quality Commission recently adopted California auto emissions standards in order to control carbon dioxide, which is not even a pollutant. The regulations are likely to cost new car buyers $1,500 to $3,000 extra, with no measurable environmental benefits in return.

The reason for these new regulations is that the governor and his environmentalist backers think we have a global warming crisis. But only nine percent of Oregonians in the poll agreed that global warming is the most important environmental issue.

This is a case where the people are far ahead of elected officials in understanding complex problems. The dramatic clean-up of air pollution since 1970 is one of the great environmental success stories of the late 20th century. All of Oregon is in compliance with the Clean Air Act, and has been for the past eight years.

If a small band of environmental zealots want to punish themselves with high-cost California regulations, that’s fine. But there’s no reason the rest of us should have to pay as well.

John A. Charles, Jr. is president and CEO at Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland, Oregon based think tank.

© 2006, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

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