Against Backdrop of SCOTUS Ruling on EPA, Americans are Unified Around Protecting Water Resources During Climate Change
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 30, 2022 — The Supreme Court of the United States on Thursday ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency had limited authority to regulate and enforce the Clean Air Act. The ruling could also mean that the federal government’s ability to enforce the Clean Water Act is now similarly limited, even as polling shows this is the opposite of what the majority of voters want.
“While this decision is a setback, we are optimistic that it will not change the overwhelming momentum we are seeing from industry and community leaders who are dedicated to tackling climate change, protecting water, and ushering in a clean energy future,” said Lukas Walton, chair of the Walton Family Foundation’s Environment Committee, and also CEO of the Builder’s Vision. “An increasing number of leaders know that the long-term benefits of acting on climate change far outweigh the costs and that inaction is the most costly scenario for our planet, our economy, and our communities.”
“Americans are very unified around protecting water resources, and this decision may make it harder for the federal government to enforce laws that conserve our rivers, streams, and wetlands,” said Moira Mcdonald, director of the Walton Family Foundation’s Environment Program. “An undeniable majority of voters support protecting water during climate change – Americans want and expect leadership right now. This is a time for communities, water advocates, policymakers, and industry leaders to come together and double down on solutions that work for people and nature.”
Recent polling, conducted by Morning Consult, shows a majority of Americans agree climate change will alter important aspects of life in the U.S. like agriculture (76% total, 89% Democrats, and 61% Republicans), water resources (76% total, 90% Democrats, and 59% Republicans) and the economy (71% total, 87% Democrats, and 55% Republicans). The poll also shows 73% of Americans are worried about climate change and water scarcity, with at least three-in-five voters saying that drought, increased temperatures, wildfires, extreme weather, and flooding are a product of climate change’s effect on water resources.
Notably, Black and Hispanic voters expressed more concern about climate change’s impacts on the economy (84% Black, 81% Hispanic, 68% White), health (88% Black, 78% Hispanic, 67% White), and issues around equality (69% Black voters, 62% Hispanic voters, 44% White).
One-quarter of American voters believe their state will not have enough water during their grandchildren’s lifetimes (the next 100 years). The numbers are even higher in western states - 55% in Colorado said their state would not have enough water in the next 100 years and 53% said the same in Arizona.
“At a time when one-quarter of all Americans - and more than half of the residents in Arizona and Colorado - don’t think that there will be enough water in their home states for their grandchildren, we clearly need to be doing more to protect and conserve water,” said Mcdonald.
Other key findings from the poll include:
- 74% of voters agree that political parties should find more common ground on addressing climate change (87% of Democrats, 74% of independents, and 60% of Republicans).
- 73% of voters agree that there is still time to address climate change (79% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 70% of Republicans).
- People of color and younger people feel the most urgency on these issues:
- Black and Hispanic voters agree that climate change is having a massive impact on their community.
- ◦ 68% Black
◦ 58% Hispanic
◦ 43% White
- ◦ 68% Black
- And that climate change is having devastating effects on the world’s water resources.
- ◦ 77% Black
◦ 74% Hispanic
◦ 65% White
- ◦ 77% Black
- 66% of younger voters (18-34) agreed that climate change is the most important issue facing the world today while only 45% of seniors (65+) agreed.
To read the full poll results, visit www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/worldwaterday.
The national poll was conducted between March 4-March 6, 2022 among a sample of 2005 Registered Voters across the United States. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered Voters based on gender by age, educational attainment, race, marital status, homeownership, race by educational attainment, 2020 presidential vote, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
The state-level polls were conducted between March 4-March 8, 2022, among a sample of 298 Registered Voters in Arizona and a sample of 300 registered voters in Colorado. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of Registered Voters based on gender, age, education, race, ethnicity, marital status, homeownership, and 2020 vote choice. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.