SURVEY: Appalachian Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining
16 Aug 2011 | Emma Brown
Voters in the Appalachian states of Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee
overwhelmingly oppose mountaintop removal coal mining practices and support strong clean water
standards, a poll released by the Appalachian Mountain Advocates, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club on Monday found.
The poll, which was conducted by
by Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Research &
Consulting, surveyed 1,315 registered voters and found that support for
strong clean water standards spanned across party lines in
Appalachia. The study found:
- A majority of voters in the four states oppose mountaintop removal: 57% of voters oppose mountaintop removal (42% of which
strongly oppose) compared to only 20% who support the practice. Only 10% of
voters in the four states strongly support it.
- Bipartisan support for strong clean air and water protections: 75% of Republican voters and 68% of Tea
Party voters support not just protecting already
existing standards, but support
increasing Clean Water Act protections to combat
the effects of mountaintop removal coal mining.
removal is a key election issue in the
four states: Voters
polled said they are likely to reward politicians who support strong water
protections, while punishing those who act to weaken current environmental protections.
reject the myth that environmental protections are bad for the economy: 60% of voters believe that
environmental protections are good for the economy (40%) or have no economic
impact (20%). Only 25% of voters believe environmental protections have
negative economic consequences.
"The survey data turns
conventional wisdom on its head,” said Celinda Lake,
president of Lake Research Associates. “Not only does it show
Appalachian voters opposing mountaintop removal and by wide margins, it also underscores that voters
in these states are now treating this as a voting issue, and promise to punish
elected officials who weaken clean water and environmental regulations on mountaintop removal."