Washington — Americans strongly back proposals by Interior Secretary James Watt to increase energy production, according to a copyright poll in Newsweek magazine conducted by the Gallup Organization.
By a 70-to-22 margin, Americans supported expanded offshore oil drilling, and , by 76 to 19, greater oil and gas drilling on federal lands.
But 58 percent of those questioned supported government-mandated environmental safeguards despite the added cost to goods and services.
While 75 percent said strong economic growth and high environmental standards can go hand in hand, the figures differed on some points. Fifty-five percent opposed relaxing antipollution efforts for the sake of more energy, but 55 percent would relax air pollution standards to allow industry to burn more coal rather than imported oil.
The poll indicated 48 percent would ease strip-mining regulations, but 53 percent were opposed to reducing auto-exhaust emission standards even if it m eant higher car prices.