Indiana Survey: Hoosiers Would Pull Plug on Duke Energy's Proposed Coal-Fired Power Plant in Edwardsport

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Indiana Survey: Hoosiers Would Pull Plug on Duke Energy's Proposed Coal-Fired Power Plant in Edwardsport

Survey of 600 Indiana Adults Shows Strong Preference for Clean Energy, More Conservation & Energy-Efficiency; About 6 in 10 State Residents Would Be More Likely to Support Political Candidate Who Opposes Edwardsport Plant.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN., April 22, 2008 - Support in Indiana for plans by Duke Energy to build a dirty coal-fired power plant at Edwardsport is weak, according to a scientific survey of 600 state residents conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) for the independent Civil Society Institute, a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank located in Newton, MA.

The survey found that four out of five Indiana residents (80 percent) – 76 percent of Republicans, 85 percent of Democrats and 81 percent of Independents -- agree that “Indiana should focus on increased energy efficiency and conservation steps and more use of sustainable energy to reduce demand for electricity before it goes ahead with a new coal-fired power plant.” Fewer than one in four (18 percent) disagree.

Other key Indiana survey findings include:

  • Three out of four Indiana residents (75 percent) would pick clean wind or solar energy if they “could decide where to invest money in new electric power generation for Indiana.” Fewer than one in five (16 percent) would pick nuclear and just 7 percent favor coal as the power source.

  • About six out of 10 Indiana residents (58 percent) -– including an equal number of likely voters --would be more likely to vote for “a candidate for public office who spoke out against Duke Energy's planned coal-fired plant for Indiana.”This support for power plant opponent candidates includes majorities of Republicans (50 percent), Democrats (66 percent) and Independents (57 percent).

  • Nearly three out of four Indiana residents (75 percent) would oppose “the building of another coal-fired power plant in Indiana if they knew it would result in additional mercury contamination and carbon dioxide pollution, which scientists believe contribute to global warming.” Over half (53 percent) of residents would strongly oppose such construction, which would be favored by only one in four state residents. Only 31 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of Independents would support such construction.

Civil Society Institute Senior Fellow Gail Pressberg said: “Duke Energy clearly does not have the support of Hoosiers when it embraces a 19th Century solution like coal to deal with the challenges of a 21st Century world that requires clean energy solutions that create new jobs and cut global warming pollution. Indiana residents know that Jim Rogers is on the wrong track in relying on a dirty power source at the same time that more far-sighted utilities and the state governments that regulate them are canceling plans for coal-fired power plants.”

Grant Smith, executive director, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN., said: “The public understands that going forward with construction of the Edwardsport coal gasification plant would be a financial disaster for ratepayers and an ecological travesty. It is simply unethical and irresponsible for Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers to pursue completion of the Edwardsport plant due to extravagant costs to ratepayers in these difficult economic times, the lack of any technology that can control carbon dioxide emissions, and the availability of cheaper, cleaner options that can easily meet electric demand in Duke’s monopoly territory and create many more jobs than a coal plant. The public just isn’t buying Rogers’ self-serving coal-now-and-forever spin.”

Other Survey Findings

Opinion Research Corporation Senior Researcher Graham Hueber said: “It is clear from the survey that Indiana residents are looking ahead to a future of cleaner energy. For example, nearly nine out of 10 Hoosiers (86 percent) agree with the following statement: ‘A national energy strategy based on a 'phasing in' of new technologies and a phasing out of carbon based energy sources would require specific actions. America should commit to a five-year moratorium on new coal-fired plants and, instead, focus on aggressive expansion of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. Tax and other incentives should be provided for all new construction to help reduce energy consumption. Homeowners should get incentives to make their homes more energy efficient to help reduce energy demands.’”

Other key Civil Society Institute survey findings for Indiana include the following:

  • Likely voters favor more conservation/energy efficiency over power plant construction by a margin of 79 percent to 19 percent.

  • Four out of five Indiana residents (80 percent) say they are “concerned about the possible ill health effects -including asthma, heart problems and mental retardation in children --that could be experienced by you, your family members and others as the result of increased pollution from a new coal-fired power plant in Indiana.”Fewer than one in five state residents (19 percent) say they are not concerned by such health issues.

  • About nine out of ten Indiana residents (84 percent) – including a bipartisan 80 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Independents -- agree with the following statement: "A sound energy policy is central to solving some of the most urgent problems facing our country. An energy policy that promotes energy efficiency and sustainable power would encourage innovation, create new green jobs and make for a stronger economy. It also allows the U.S. to disentangle itself from unstable and hostile regions of the world while also reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.“

  • Roughly nine out of 10 Indiana residents (89 percent) “think it is time for the leaders of our nation to start thinking in terms of the concept of a ’new industrial revolution, ’one that is characterized by the orderly phasing out of fossil fuels and the phasing in of clean, renewable energy sources -many of which are available now, such as wind and solar for electricity, hybrid and clean diesel technologies for cars.”

  • Over four out of five Indiana residents (81 percent) agree that “the effects of global warming require that we take timely and decisive steps for renewable, safe and clean energy sources. We need transitional technologies on our path to energy independence. There are tough choices to be made and tradeoffs. We cannot afford to postpone decisions since there are no perfect options."

  • Over four-fifths of Indiana residents (83 percent) have little (15 percent) or no (68 percent) awareness of “plans by Duke Energy to build a new coal-fired power plant at Edwardsport in Indiana.” Only 17 percent say they are aware, with just 4 percent “very aware.”

For full findings from the new survey, go to http://citact.org/sites/default/files/Indiana_Coal_Survey_04-08_0.pdf

Survey Methodology

Results are based on an Opinion Research Corporation survey for the Civil Society Institute consisting of telephone interviews conducted among a representative sample of 602 adults age 18 and over, living in private households, in the state of Indiana. Interviewing was completed during the period of April 4-7, 2008. All completed interviews were weighted by two variables: age and gender, to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points for the sample of 602 adults. Smaller sub-groups will have larger error margins.

About the Civil Society Institute

The nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org) is a Newton, Massachusetts-based think tank that serves as a catalyst for change by creating problem-solving interactions among people, and between communities, government and business that can help to improve society. Since 2003, CSI has conducted more than 15 major national and state-level surveys on energy and global warming issues. The Civil Society Institute also is a of the Citizens Lead for Energy Action Now (CLEAN) campaign at http://www.cleanenergyaction.net. CSI is the organizer of both 40MPG.org (http://www.40MPG.org) and the Hybrid Owners of America (http://www.HybridOwnersofAmerica.org).

Contact: Ailis Aaron Wolf, (703) 276-3265 or aawolf@hastingsgroup.com.

Editor's Note: A streaming audio replay of the news event will be available on the Web at http://www.hastingsgroupmedia.com/CSI/042208INDukesurvey.wma.

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