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Concern for Environment Hits New Low

American worries about environmental issues have hit a 20-year low, according to a recent Gallup Poll.

People were polled on whether they worry a "great deal" about eight distinct environmental issues -- the percentage that answered yes was lower than last year in every category. For all but two categories, global warming and fresh water supply maintenance, the number was the lowest since Gallup started measuring 20 years ago.

According to the polling, Americans worry least about global warming and most about drinking-water pollution.

In fact, the top four concerns deal with water: pollution of drinking water (50%), pollution of rivers, lakes, reservoirs (46%), maintenance of the nation's supply of fresh water for household needs (45%), and contamination of soil and water by toxic waste (44%).

Pollution of drinking water has been the top concern each year it has been included in the list of environmental problems. The year it was not (1989), pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs was the top concern.

The reasons for the declines in concern could be "due in part to Americans' belief that environmental conditions in the U.S. are improving," Gallup said on its Web site. "It also may reflect greater public concern about economic issues, which is usually associated with a drop in environmental concern."

A separate poll by Gallup did indeed show that Americans were more concerned about the economy, even if it meant the environment suffers to some extent. For only the second time in more than two decades, 53% of Americans are more likely to say economic growth should take precedence over environmental protection when the two objectives conflict than to say the reverse (38%).

Environmental Concerns Poll
http://www.gallup.com/poll/126716/Environmental-Issues-Year-Low-Concern.aspx

Environment vs. Economy Poll
http://www.gallup.com/poll/126788/Americans-Firm-Prioritizing-Economy-Environment.aspx



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