|Recent CSI Headline|
Americans Unwilling to Trade Clean Drinking Water For Dirty Energy Production; Strong Support Across Party Lines Seen For Putting Emphasis on Energy Production With Minimum of Pollution.
WASHINGTON, D.C.///December 21, 2010///Do Americans think natural gas is as "clean" as it is touted as being by the energy industry? Nearly half of Americans (45 percent) are already very or somewhat aware of the controversy about hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") drilling used to tap cheap natural gas supplies in the U.S., according to a new Infogroup/Opinion Research Corporation (Infogroup/ORC) survey conducted for the nonprofit Civil Society Institute (CSI). Among Americans who already are aware of "fracking," more than two out of three (69 percent) are concerned about the drilling technique's possible threat to clean drinking water.
The U.S. fracking survey conducted by CSI – the first national poll to gauge the attitudes of Americans on the subject – was released today along with two separate survey reports for more than 800 New York State/New York City residents and over 400 Pennsylvanians. The national and two state-specific reports are available at http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org.
Key findings of the national survey include the following findings:
Pam Solo, founder and president, Civil Society Institute, said: "Clean energy production is strongly favored by Americans over energy sources that create a danger to human health and safe drinking water in particular. Fracking is a perfect illustration of the fact that Americans don't think of an energy source as 'cheap' or 'clean' if there is a hidden price in terms of safe drinking water and human health. The message from our new survey is clear: Americans of all political persuasions prefer to see clean energy development that protects water supplies over traditional fossil fuel production that endangers safe drinking water and human health."
Commenting on the survey, Anthony Ingraffea, PhD, P.E., Dwight C. Baum professor of engineering, Cornell University, said: "The results of this survey indicates that the public has been educated and sensitized to the issues arising from tradeoffs among energy production, the environment, and health. Americans now understand that, especially with the allure of gas production from unconventional gas plays, even 'getting it right' from a technical and regulatory point of view might still be wrong in terms of clean drinking water. The public is increasingly ready to commit to change in its energy use patterns, invest in its children's energy futures, and is no longer willing to accept the notion that a corporate business plan is the same as a national strategic energy plan."
Fracking, a technique used to extract natural gas from deep deposits, involves blasting vast amounts of water combined with chemicals and sand into the ground to release the gas from deposits. While industry experts claim that this is a relatively low-risk extraction method, there are growing concerns about the threat of contamination of drinking water supplies.
The nonprofit Civil Society Institute has carried out more than 25 major national- and state-level opinion polls on energy issues since 2003. The 100-percent independent CSI think tank receives no direct or indirect support of any kind from any natural gas industry interest, or any other energy-related company, trade group or related individual.
In addition to the national survey, the state-specific polls for Pennsylvania and New York State/City were conducted since: (1) Pennsylvania is a major site today for fracking-based efforts to access the enormous Marcellus Shale deposit stretching along the Appalachians from West Virginia up to the western half of the state of New York; and (2) concerns are rising that the use of hydraulic fracturing could lead to water contamination of the Catskill/Delaware River watershed that is a main source of drinking water for New York City and millions of other regional residents.
OTHER KEY SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS
The full national, New York State and Pennsylvania survey results are available online at http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org.
The Civil Society Institute survey of American attitudes about "fracking" was conducted by Infogroup/Opinion Research Corporation between November 26-28, 2010 among a sample of 1,012 adults comprising 501 men and 511 women 18 years of age and older living in the Continental United States. Completed interviews are weighted by four variables: age, gender, region and race to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total population, 18 years of age and older. The margin of error for results based on the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Details about the methodology of the separate New York State and Pennsylvania survey results are available online at http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org.
ABOUT CIVIL SOCIETY INSTITUTE
Based in Newton, MA., the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org) is a 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 25 major national and state-level surveys on a range of issues including climate change, coal, nuclear, global warming, wind and other renewable energy, vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, consumer demand for hybrids/other highly-fuel efficient vehicles, and gas prices. In addition to being a co-convener of CLEAN (www.TheClean.org), CSI also is the parent organization of 40MPG.org (http://www.40MPG.org) and the Hybrid Owners of America (http://www.HybridOwnersofAmerica.org).
CONTACT: Leslie Anderson, (703) 276-3256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A streaming audio replay of the news event will be available on the Web at http://www.civilsocietyinstitute.org as of 3 p.m. EST on December 21, 2010. The full national, New York State and Pennsylvania survey results are available online at http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org.