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October 19, 2006 11:04 PM UTC

Coloradans support strong action on energy

  • 2 Comments
  • by: mgarrington

Poll confirms what politicos are saying: energy issues poised to play important role in elections

Denver, CO – Coloradans from across the state overwhelmingly support strong action on clean energy solutions, this according to a new poll released today by the Coalition for Colorado’s New Energy future.

The coalition of agricultural, labor, and conservation groups commissioned the New York-based Benenson Strategy Group to determine public support for their energy plan. In late September, 802 Coloradans were surveyed across the state.

“This poll shows Coloradans support real action on energy issues and The Plan for Colorado’s New Energy Future,” said Mike Bowman, chairman for the coalition and a farmer from Wray, Colorado. “How we produce and use energy is incredibly important for everything from keeping our farms working to improving national security to cleaning-up our air.”

According to the poll, a strong majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents in Colorado support the major policy initiatives of “The Plan for Colorado’s New Energy Future.”

Here is a summary of the results: (see below for complete breakdown)

• 79% support increasing the use of renewable energy to 20% by 2015;
• 81% support creating incentives for utility companies to reduce electricity and natural gas use 10% by 2015 through energy efficiency program; and
• 74% support establishing a renewable fuels standard where 10% of our transportation fuels comes from renewable fuels such as biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, by 2015.
Pete Brodnitz of Benenson Strategy Group conducted the poll and saw it as part of a larger national trend where voters are looking toward candidates for clean energy solutions to our current situation.

“Support in Colorado is consistent with what we’re seeing around the country,” said Brodnitz. “Voters want to see aggressive action to develop clean energy solutions and reduce dependence on oil.”

The gubernatorial race underscores how energy issues are shaping up in Colorado. Both Republican candidate Bob Beauprez and Democratic candidate Bill Ritter have spoken publicly on clean energy development and have policy positions listed on their websites.

“Energy solutions cut across party lines, and many candidates have been working to get out in front on this issue,” said Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies, the largest Republican polling firm in the nation.

“Because energy is often perceived as both a national security and economic issue, candidates must be ready to talk about energy in their races,” continued Weigel.

Prof. Bill Chaloupka, Department of Political Science Chair for Colorado State University added his comments about the recent poll.

“The poll results show strong support, virtually across the board, for aggressive energy policies, beyond what is now in place in Colorado,” said Chaloupka.

And although Chaloupka believes that other issues have dominated debate during this election year, he said, “These results seem to suggest strong support across all dimensions of Colorado’s population for aggressive pursuit of clean energy and energy that comes from domestic sources.”

Environment Colorado is one of the five steering committee members of the Coalition for Colorado’s New Energy Future and was a leading proponent of Amendment 37, the renewable energy initiative passed by Colorado voters in November 2004.

“Clean energy is a clear win in this year’s elections,” said Matt Garrington, Field Director for Environment Colorado. “The Plan for Colorado’s New Energy Future sets common-sense goals, and that’s why so many Coloradans support them.

More information about The Plan for Colorado’s New Energy Future and the coalition can be found at www.ColoradoEnergyFuture.org.

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