COAL COUNTRY, NATION AGREE – NEW WIND, NEW SUN & NO NEW COAL
From the heart of coal country, comes news of a cry for New Energy. A newly released poll shows 52% of West Virginians want the next President and Congress to achieve energy independence by relying on clean energy sources, rather than coal, oil and nuclear power plants. "…their number one  energy-related priority for the nation [is] promoting energy sources such as wind or solar, more conservation of energy, and hybrid or other highly fuel-efficient cars…"
Nationally, 59% hold this position.
71% of West Virginians (73% nationally) want new coal plant construction stopped for 5 years if New Energy development is stepped up.
90% of West Virginians (92% nationally) see solar energy as a power source of “tomorrow.” 86% of West Virginians (88% nationally) see wind as a power source of “tomorrow.” 64% of West Virginians (67% nationally) see oil as a power source of “yesterday.”
Graham Hueber, Senior Researcher, Opinion Research Corporation (ORC): "What we see in our survey work is that national and state-level attitudes about energy and climate action vary relatively little, even when you drill down into views of the coal state of West Virginia. In fact, in some respects, the residents of West Virginia are even more inclined than other Americans to look beyond coal and other carbon-based fuels to renewable energy sources."
58% of West Virginians (52% nationally) want subsidies/tax breaks/incentives for wind and solar power equal to those for coal-fired and nuclear power plants. 22% of West Virginians (30% nationally) go even farther and want government to "shift all or most [subsidies/tax breaks/incentives] from nuclear power and coal-fired power plants to energy sources such as wind and solar."
45% of West Virginians (40% nationally) have “a small degree of confidence" that political leaders will act. 26% of West Virginians (27% nationally) have "no confidence" they will act.
Pam Solo, President/Founder CSI: "West Virginia residents and other Americans deserve credit for understanding that more investment by the state and federal governments in coal and nuclear power is essentially the same thing as investing in subprime mortgages. If U.S. taxpayers are going to directly or indirectly underwrite energy development and energy-intensive industries - such as the auto industry - we need to insist that state officials in Charleston and the next Congress and President make good, solid investments that make sense for the long-term of our country. The only energy investments that rise above the 'subprime' level today are wind, solar and other clean renewable energy in concert with enhanced energy efficiency."
87% of West Virginians (91% nationally) believe reliance on fossil fuels is the product of the 19th-and-early-20th-century industrial revolution and it is time to phase them out in favor of New Energy.
84% of West Virginians (78% nationally) think it is necessary to “take timely and decisive steps” to deal with global climate change by building New Energy, believe it will require “tough choices” but agree we “…cannot afford to postpone decisions since there are no perfect options."
Grant Smith, national project coordinator, CLEAN: "Investments in coal and nuclear power are the Countrywide Financial subprime mortgages of the energy world. What the public is saying in this survey is that we support government making investments in the energy sources of tomorrow, but we have to stop flushing money down the drain by propping up the failing energy sources of yesterday…After the current financial debacle on Wall Street, it is hard to imagine that Americans are going to allow more dumb investments by Charleston and Washington on the wrong energy sources."
One last point, a warning to political leaders: 93% of West Virginians (91% nationally) consider candidates’ views on energy important in their voting decisions. 65% of West Virginians (58% nationally) consider the candidates’ views on energy "very important."
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W.V. Energy/Climate Survey: Most In State Do Not Favor More ‘Subprime’ Investments In Carbon-Based Fuels, Nuclear Power
September 25, 2008 (PR Newswire/COMTEX via MarketWatch)
Opinion Research Corporation (ORC); Clean; Civil Society Institute (CSI); Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OHVEC)
ORC’s Clean Energy Attitudes of Americans and Clean Energy and West Virginia reveal that public opinion nationally and in coal country favors moving away from coal and nuclear and toward the building of New Energy.
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The surveys were taken September 12 through 17.
The surveys were made nationally and in West Virginia, the heart of coal country.
- 62% of West Virginians (50% Republicans, 69% Democrats, 68% Independents) oppose blasting the wind farm site at Coal River Mountain for mountaintop removal coal mining. (15% strongly support the action, 39% strongly oppose it.)
- W.V. Governor Manchin favors the mountaintop removal mining of Coal River Mountain.
- More than three out of five West Virginia residents prefer that tax breaks/incentives either (1) be divided "between renewable energy, such as wind and solar, and coal-to-liquid plants" (49%) or (2) go entirely to "support (for) renewable energy such as wind and solar" (27%). Only 23% want tax breaks/incentives solely for coal-to-liquid plants.
- W.V. Governor Manchin is directing ~$200 million in state tax breaks/incentives to developers of a coal-to-liquids plant.
- Only 38% of West Virginians (26% nationally) favor promoting more coal-fired power plants, oil from offshore drilling and nuclear power. Only 8% (10% nationally) think the U.S. needs no change from its present dependence on foreign energy sources.
- Only 16% of West Virginians (10% nationally) would leave subsidies/tax breaks/incentives for nuclear power and coal-fired power the same.
- 62% of West Virginians(63% nationally): "global warming is a problem and we have limited time to figure out the solutions to it."
- 18% of West Virginians (18% nationally) see “a positive or neutral economic impact” from making changes to deal with global climate change.
- 56% of West Virginians (67% nationally) pick New Energy over coal or nuclear. 4% of West Virginians (8% nationally) want nuclear and 18% of West Virginians (3% nationally) want coal.
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- Janet Keating, executive director, OHVEC: "It's great to know that the majority of West Virginians are in step with the rest of the nation when it comes to energy and climate issues. Now is the time for our state-level and national political leaders to begin the transition to a new energy future…"
- Grant Smith, national project coordinator, CLEAN: "It makes no sense to be making 50-year investments in new coal-fired power plants. Energy efficiency and renewable technologies already have overtaken, in many instances, or will soon overtake, in other instances, coal-fired power in terms of direct cost and are far superior in terms of financial risk, economic benefit, and the ability to address global warming. There is no viable model under which new nuclear power plants can be constructed as anything other than multi-billion-dollar public works boondoggles…"