Survey shows Floridians aren’t down for new carbon emission regulations

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New data released today by the Partnership for a Better Energy Future shows that Floridians may not be too keen on proposed regulations of carbon emissions.

A poll conducted among 1,127 likely Florida voters by Paragon Insights shows 46% of respondents opposing President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan while only 43% support it.

“The data released today make it abundantly clear that regulators in Washington are completely out of touch with what the rest of America wants,” said National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The EPA’s plan to regulate carbon emissions from new and existing power plants could drastically increase energy prices for households and businesses alike. A self-inflicted wound like this threatens the comeback underway in the manufacturing sector and makes it harder for manufacturers to compete, expand and create jobs.”

The poll indicates a potential average household energy cost increase of $130 a year. It uses data from a Nera Economic Consulting study showing the EPA’s plan to regulate emissions from existing power plants would cost more than $366 billion and would drive electricity rates upward by 18 percent in Florida.

The survey also shows half of all respondents unwilling to pay even $1 more for energy to implement the new regulations. Thirty-six percent of Florida voters surveyed are less likely to cast their vote for a candidate that supports EPA’s Clean Power Plan, versus just 25 percent who indicated they are more likely to vote for candidates who support the rule.

The poll also implied through language used in questions that reductions in global carbon emissions as a result of the proposed regulation would only be 1.5 percent.

“EPA’s push to implement one of the most complicated and costliest rules in history is creating real concerns across the country that should not be ignored,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy President and CEO Karen Harbert. “This poll affirms what we’re hearing from states, businesses and families that will be forced to comply. The EPA should heed these concerns and abandon its current approach, which will bring negative consequences for our entire economy with very little environmental benefit in return.”

Some environmentalists are dismissive of the survey.

“The [Partnership for a] Better Energy Future poll released today is one of the more biased and misinforming surveys I’ve ever seen. The questions are obviously leading, and the false presumptions the questions make about the Clean Power Plan attempt to play on consumers’ fears propagated by the dirty power industry,” Sierra Club spokesperson Tim Heberlein said. “The survey attempts to mislead participants away from the facts: that Florida and the US can reduce pollution and have a prosperous economy.”

The survey first asks respondents to rate their support of a series of statements. Those include statements like, “the new regulations could lead to energy rationing during periods of high energy demand, or extreme weather events like heat waves and snow storm.” Nearly 60 percent of respondents indicated they would be less likely to support a regulation with such consequences. Other statements showing a lack of support included, “the new regulations could lead to job losses in your state” and “the new regulations could increase electricity bills for low-income Americans and senior citizens.”

Following those statements, the survey then asks, “Now that you have learned a little about these regulations, do you support or oppose the Obama administration’s new regulations to reduce carbon emissions from power plants?” That’s when 46 percent of respondents said no.

“This poll contradicts a SurveyUSA poll released earlier this year. That poll showed the vast majority of Floridians recognize climate disruption as a serious problem, and strongly support limits on carbon pollution from power plants, Heberlein said.

That poll was commissioned by the liberal-leaning NRDC, or National Resources Defense Council. The Partnership for a Better Energy Future was convened by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.