New Poll Reveals New Jersey Residents Strongly Support Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative's Results

Nearly 75% of Voters Back In-State Clean Energy Development

Kate Slusark, 212-727-4592

NEW YORK (May 26, 2011) -- New Jersey residents solidly support the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a program that generates jobs, revenue and investment in their clean energy economy, according to new Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey results released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

“Supporting a program that creates jobs, spurs new economic development and cuts costs while making the air cleaner just makes sense – that’s why people in New Jersey support RGGI,” said Dale Bryk, NRDC energy director. “New Jersey’s a national leader in solar development – its residents know better than to buy into dirty energy’s fear-mongering.”

Some of the poll’s notable findings include:

  • 74 percent of likely voters would rather keep New Jersey energy dollars in the state, investing in clean homegrown alternative energy sources, than send them out of the state -- or country -- to import fossil fuels.
  • 69 percent said they think generating solar and offshore wind energy in the state is a better way for New Jersey to get electricity than burning coal.
  • 60 percent said they would be willing to pay an additional 75 cents per month on their energy bill -- a number that is higher than most estimated costs, which have actually only gone down thanks to RGGI’s support of energy efficiency programs – to cut air pollution from power plants, like coal, and invest in cleaner homegrown sources like wind and solar that will ultimately keep energy costs lower and more stable.
  • 61 percent said they would support a program that curbed climate change while also creating jobs and cultivating a clean energy economy in New Jersey.

The poll follows indications from Governor Chris Christie that he is evaluating the state’s participation in RGGI. And it comes as the Americans for Prosperity -- a corporate front group funded by out-of-state oil interests like the infamous Koch Industries -- launches radio and TV ads propagating false information about the program, which favors in-state clean energy over importing dirty fossil-fuels from out-of-state.

The results, however, indicate caving into Koch Industry demands that would not be a popular move for the Governor:

  • 47 percent also said pulling out of RGGI would be inconsistent with the Governor’s stated commitment to the clean energy sector as a way to rebuild New Jersey’s economy and workforce, while only 33 percent thought it would be consistent.

RGGI is an agreement among 10 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to lower energy costs, create good-paying jobs that can’t be shipped overseas, and spur innovation, while cutting air pollution from power plants that threatens public health.

Since RGGI launched, region-wide climate change air pollution is down 30 percent, and energy costs are 15 to 30 percent lower -- due in part to RGGI-funded energy efficiency programs. These energy efficiency programs will also create nearly 18,000 job years (a year’s worth of work). Overall, because of RGGI, the region’s economy has grown by more than $2.6 billion. And in New Jersey, the program has already delivered over $52 million for clean energy projects that support new and existing jobs, and can save consumers and businesses money. If Governor Christie sticks with the program, that number will grow significantly.

The survey had a sample size of 600 and a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. It was conducted via telephone from May 19 to 21 by Public Policy Polling.

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