NEWS ANALYSIS:

Poll Shows Marylanders Want Environmental Protections

Support was found across the state, across political affiliation, race, and gender, indicating that clean energy has wide appeal.
Results of a new poll released October 16 reveals that Marylanders are deeply concerned about air pollution and global warming and want to see the state take actions to address the problems. The survey, sponsored by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), The poll, conducted from September 12 to 15, has a margin of error of 3.5%. It showed that 91% of repondents are concerned about air pollution, global warming, and their effects on Maryland's environment, public health, and the economy. Sixty-four percent said they are “extremely” or “quite” concerned.

Nearly seven out of ten (69%) support a renewables portfolio standard (RPS) that would require the state’s utilities to get at least 10% of their energy from clean renewable sources (such as wind, solar, and biomass), even though they were told it might raise their rates. Seven out of ten voters (70%) also support a system benefit charge that would add $1 to their electric bill in order to support energy conservation, efficiency, and renewables programs. And nearly three of every four voters (74%) support adoption of efficiency standards for new commercial equipment and other energy thirsty products.

“This is clearly a call of the voters to protect our environment and health from the dangers of global warming and air pollution,” said Mike Tidwell, executive director of CCAN. “People recognize the real risks of global warming and choking smog. Our leaders need to lead.”

“There are several prominent highlights to the results,” noted Jason Holstine, president of Aurum SustainAbility in Germantown. “First of all, the voters supported clean energy programs even with the prospect that it might increase costs. They are willing to personally invest in programs that will clean our air and protect the climate, and they want the state to fulfill its obligations. It is also noteworthy that support was found across the state, across political affiliation, race, and gender, indicating that clean energy has wide appeal.”

One recent proposal to build a wind power facility in Garrett County would deliver 101 megawatts of pollution-free energy, create more than 175 jobs, and generate estimated tax revenues of $1.3 million from construction and $522,000 annually from operations.

Carol Arscott, of Gonzales/Arscott Research & Communications, Inc., which conducted the poll, concluded that “Marylanders are generally environmentally conscious and these programs have the advantage, in this difficult budget year, of not requiring tax expenditures. Just as people are happy to recycle their trash, they are glad to conserve energy.”


For more information, call the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (MaryPIRG) at 410-467-0439.


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This story was published on November 9, 2002.