Is environmental protection a luxury, something the nation must skimp on during economic hard times?
According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans stung by the economic recession are changing their tune on the importance of environmental values. A little more than half of Americans polled told Gallup that economic growth should be given priority, even if it means the environment will suffer. By contrast, only 42 percent of the public would place a higher priority on the environment. The results marked the first time in Gallup's 25-year history that a majority of Americans favored economic growth over the environment.
The poll was released just as Congress begins work on comprehensive climate change legislation that some lawmakers argue would raise energy prices and prolong the nation's economic recession.
Should government policies focus more on economic growth and less on the environment? Does the nation have to choose between policies that will create jobs or that protect the environment?
-- Margaret Kriz, NationalJournal.com