Overwhelming majority of Americans want clean water and renewable energy –poll

A new poll says 94% want new energy balanced with clean air and water, 86% want to shift from coal and nuclear to wind and water power, and 79% are concerned about shale gas fracking affecting water quality.

A few excerpts from the PR Water is High Priority for Bipartisan Majority of Americans, 10 January 2013,

  • 92 percent of Americans think “U.S. energy planning and decision making” should be based on “a comprehensive understanding of what our national water resources are” — a national water roadmap that Congress asked for, but which was never produced. The national water roadmap attracts the support of 92 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents, and 94 percent of Democrats.
  • 86 percent of Americans want leadership on shifting from coal and nuclear energy to wind and solar. Support for this approach exists across party lines, including 72 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Independents, and 97 percent of Democrats.
  • 86 percent of Americans “support more studies of the health and environmental consequences of the chemicals” used in fracking. Supporters of this approach include 81 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Independents, and 89 percent of Democrats.
  • Three quarters of Americans have heard of fracking, with 51 percent saying they are very or somewhat familiar with it. 79 percent of Americans are concerned about fracking “as it relates to water quality.”

What is to be done?

Pam Solo, president and founder, Civil Society Institute, said: “This survey should be a wake-up call for federal elected officials. The polling data we are releasing today should give pause to decision makers who assume the American public will support energy policies without regard to consequences or the impact these choices have on safe drinking water. The voracious appetite that conventional energy such as gas, oil, coal and nuclear power has on water availability is increasingly a problem for many parts of the country. When given a menu of choices and not asked a simple ‘yes or no’ question, Americans weigh our options and come down in favor of increased energy efficiency and low environmental impact and healthier energy futures such as wind and solar power. The distance between what the public values and where political decision makers are headed should be seen as an opportunity for real leadership at the federal level. Energy policy is at the heart of our economic prosperity, public health, and national security. And Americans overwhelmingly want a voice that can counter the undue influence of the energy industries that have a stake in business as usual.”

“The takeaway from this important poll is that access to clean, safe drinking water is first and foremost on Americans’ minds as we dive headlong into a new era of energy production in the United States,” said Heather White, executive director at Environmental Working Group. “Americans are concerned about water quality, but also water availability when they look at how much is used in the quest for domestic sources of energy. Shale gas drilling or ‘fracking’, nuclear energy and coal production use vast amounts of the natural resource we the people need to survive. That is why the overwhelming majority of Americans want leaders in Washington to shift from coal and nuclear to wind and solar energy. Given the gridlock on Capitol Hill even on its basic responsibilities like avoiding the ‘fiscal cliff,’ most Americans understand that it’ll be up to the public to push the federal government and the country on a truly clean energy path.”

The same two groups did a poll last summer that found SURVEY: “PARTISAN DIVIDE” ON ENERGY ISSUES IS A MYTH, STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT SEEN FOR SHIFT TO CLEANER ENERGY: Washington Out of Step With Public? Little Confidence Seen in National Lawmakers Finding Solutions is Evident in Across-the-Board Political Support for Grassroots Drive to Take Back Issue.

A key finding: More than three out of four Americans (76 percent)—including 58 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Independents, and 88 percent of Democrats — think that the United States should move to a sustainable energy future through “a reduction in our reliance on nuclear power, natural gas and coal, and instead, launch a national initiative to boost renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

Conducted March 22-25, 2012, the new ORC International survey of 1,019 Americans shows that:

  • About two out of three Americans (66 percent)—including 58 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Independents, and 75 percent of Democrats — agree that the term “‘clean energy standard’ should not be used to describe any energy plan that involves nuclear energy, coal-fired power, and natural gas that comes from hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘fracking’.”

The change from coal, gas, and nuclear to solar and wind will happen if enough of us demand it. The Georgia legislature meets today. There’s a place to start. And here’s another way to say you want clean solar and wind energy while protesting Georgia Power’s stealth rate hikes for nuclear and natural gas.