A poll of state voters released Thursday shows support for a Senate bill that advances clean energy and calls for a cap on greenhouse-gas emissions.
Washington voters support the overall bill by a 54-41 margin, according to the poll conducted by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, N.C.
In addition, the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has the majority of Washington residents expressing doubts about offshore drilling. Fifty-three percent of the respondents said the spill has stiffened their opposition to drilling off the Washington coastline.
And 57 percent said the oil spill makes them more supportive of the American Power Act introduced in the Senate last month by Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman.
The poll was released by Climate Solutions, a nonprofit group working on climate change and clean energy, against a backdrop of diverse businesses also calling for federal legislative action.
More than 6,000 businesses, including 874 companies in the Northwest with 258,000 employees, are on the record urging Congress to pass an energy bill in the 2010 session, said Ross Macfarlane of Climate Solutions.
“Fossil fuels are not the answer to progress,” said Sarah Severn of Nike. “The Gulf oil spill is a painful reminder that it is time to move to new and clean energy sources, rather than old and dirty.”
“Good federal policy will allow us and others to accelerate investment in clean, renewable energy,” said Sara Kendall, vice president of environment, health, safety and sustainability for Weyerhaeuser.
Macfarlane said the Gulf oil spill complicates the political deal-making inevitable with a complex bill like the American Power Act. He said changes will be required in the provisions dealing with offshore oil drilling.
Other poll results showed that:
• 70 percent of the respondents favored a policy in the bill that would create clean-energy jobs.
• 76 percent of those polled want the country to reduce its dependence on foreign oil.
• 57 percent want the federal government to invest more in clean-energy technology.
The poll also showed that Democratic support for the bill far outweighs support by Republicans and independents.
John Dodge: 360-754-5444 firstname.lastname@example.org