The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be in the crosshairs of many Republicans on Capitol Hill, but in Michigan, the agency is favorably viewed. This will — once again — require delicate political maneuverings on the part of Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.). First, let’s focus on the new poll.
About 64 percent of Michigan's registered voters said they favored allowing the EPA to regulate emissions in a recent survey done by the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research firm. Only about 27 percent in the poll said they opposed EPA regulation. The margin of error of the survey was 4.4 percentage points. In all, 500 registered voters took part.
The political breakdown is quite interesting for a few reasons. First of all, the poll showed that 78 percent of respondents identified as Democrats supported the EPA’s authority and 57 of Republicans and 66 percent of registered Independents felt the same way.
The fact that such strong support for the EPA is coming from voters across the political spectrum is also interesting because of one of Michigan’s rising political stars — Upton, who has been the enemy of the EPA as of late. Upton now chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee and frequently goes on the record in support of removing the agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses.
So now the question is, what will Upton do? Will the Michigan Republican continue his crusade against science, even as his constituents clearly say they don’t agree with his selective scientific reasoning? Will the he pick power within his own party over the desires of his fellow Michiganders? Or will he flip-flop to a position that better reflects a belief in facts, science and health? If Upton chooses the latter option, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s done a political dance.
Upton once did have a green bone in his body. He supported increasing production of the condensed florescent lamp or CFL. Upton co-sponsored the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, which included the phasing out of the old-style light bulbs by 2012. The bill had bipartisan support before it was signed into law by President George W. Bush.
But then the EPA became a lightning rod for Republicans, and Upton decided he wanted no part of being green — and certainly no part of a Washington policy that calls for emissions regulations or light bulb selection. So now Chairman Upton is working to repeal the CFL program and hamstring the EPA. The CFL flip-flop is one that even the conservative-leaning Washington Times took note of before Upton angled to get his committee leadership post last December.
Oh how things flip and flop. With these new polls coming out of Michigan it will be fun to see which way Upton swings, and then how long it take for him to swing back — again.