Study finds environmental legislation more successful under GOP administrations

A recent study from Washington State University (WSU) suggests that people who identify as conservative are more likely to support environmental spending under a Republican president rather than Democratic one.

Erik Johnson, a sociologist at WSU, was the co-author of the study. He argued that environmental issues and spending tends to receive bipartisan support. The reason the decline in support started under Democratic presidents is that partisan support becomes activated when party lines are tested, he said.

Since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1963, environmental support has generally fluctuated during Democratic administrations and sprung back during Republican ones.

“I think that there needs to be more effort put into causes that promote a healthy environment because a lot of people aren’t aware of just how much our actions are affecting the environment,” sophomore education major Lillie Baumgartner said.

Richard Nixon put in place two key fundamental environmental policies while he was in office.

One was the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which established the president’s council on environmental quality. That same year, he created the Environmental Protection Agency.

Johnson hypothesized that Republican voters feel the need to “fight against environmental spending” under a Democratic, even if they support environmental spending, it is a way to take an active stance on something.

Gallup polls found that 61 percent of people say the quality of the environment is getting worse, 33 percent say the quality is better.

By: Gillan Faenza | Staff Writer