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    Survey Says Air Pollution Is CA's Top Environmental Issue...With Large Margins Supporting Tougher Pollution Controls On Cargo Ships, Trucks & Trains

    (July 26, 2005) -- A Special Survey on the Environment conducted by the Public Policy Institute of CA has found that air pollution tops the list of most important environmental issues facing the state...and support for tougher pollution controls is highest when it comes to cargo ships, trucks and trains.

    The Survey also found that less than half of CA residents (48%) favor building Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals...and among those who favor it, only 29% would still support the plan if a facility were located within 50 miles of their home.

    The Special Survey on the Environment, authored by PPIC Research Director and Policy Director Mark Baldassare, found more than three in four Californians (77%) want tighter anti-pollution standards on cargo ships, trucks and trains...with 70% favoring this policy even if it raises the costs for these businesses to operate.

    Public support this spans party lines, with 85% of Democrats, 80% of independents and 68% of Republicans favoring tighter pollution controls for freight and cargo shippers.

    Air pollution surpassed all other CA environmental issues, exceeding the next most important environmental issues (pollution in general, water pollution and energy at 6% each) -- by fully 20 points (26%)

    Los Angeles (31%) and Inland Empire (29%) residents are the most likely to view air pollution as the top issue. Concern about air pollution is most strongly held by blacks (33%), although whites (28%), Asians (27%), and Latinos (23%) all consider air pollution the primary environmental issue.

    The air pollution section of the Survey report states in pertinent part:

    Support for tougher pollution controls is even higher when it comes to cargo ships, trucks and trains. Three in four Californians want tighter standards on these businesses, with 70 percent favoring this policy even if it raises the costs for these businesses to operate.

    Public support is strongest among Democrats (85%) and independents (80%), while 68% percent of Republicans favor tighter pollution controls for freight and cargo shippers.

    Support is high in all regions, and there is no difference between coastal and inland residents. Solid majorities in all demographic groups favor tougher air pollution standards for the transport of freight and cargo, with most continuing their support even if it raises costs for these businesses. However, support is somewhat weaker among less-educated and lower-income residents.

    "Would you be willing to see tougher air pollution standards on ships, trucks, and trains that transport freight and cargo?"
    (if yes: "Would this be true even if this made it more costly for these businesses to operate?")

    [Excerpted chart to show LA, OC/SD & Inland Empire data only]

    All adultsL.A.OC/SDInland EmpDemRepInd
    Yes, even if more costly70%73%66%72%80%62%73%
    Yes, but not if more costly7%7%8%8%5%6%7%
    No, but not if more costly16%13%20%15%9%22%16%
    Don't Know7%7%6%5%6%10%4%

    As for the construction of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, the survey found fewer than half of Californians favor building LNG facilities (48%)...and only 24% oppose this proposal.

    However only 29% would favor the building of LNG terminals if a facility were located within 50 miles of their home.

    A majority of Republicans favor building LNG terminals (57%), but support is lower than 50% among Democrats (44%) and independents (47%).

    Overall, support is only slightly lower among coastal residents (47%) than inland residents (52%). The proposal is favored more strongly by men than women.

    In other survey findings:

    • Most Californians (59%) oppose constructing new nuclear power plants in order to expand U.S. energy sources. 33% support building more nuke plants, but only 20% would still support the plan if a plant were built within 50 miles of their home.

    • A majority of Californians (53%) remain opposed to allowing more oil drilling off the CA coast.

    • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's overall approval rating is at a low point (34%), down from 40% in May. Californians are divided when it comes to his handling of environmental issues. 32% say they approve while 35% say they disapprove.

    The Survey's findings are based on a telephone survey of 2,502 California adult residents interviewed between June 28 and July 12, 2005. Interviews were conducted in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese. The sampling error for the total sample is +/- 2% although the sampling error for subgroups is larger.

    Survey author Mark Baldassare is PPIC's research director and founder of the PPIC Statewide Survey which he has directed since 1998.

    PPIC describes itself as "a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public policy through objective, nonpartisan research on the economic, social, and political issues that affect Californians. The institute was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. PPIC does not take or support positions on any ballot measure or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office."

    The report is posted on PPIC’s website at

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