Sierra Club poll finds support for more coal ash regulation

03/25/2014 5:18 PM

02/15/2015 10:45 AM

Ask people if they’re worried about coal ash spills after there’s been a coal ash spill and they’re bound to say yes.

And that’s what a whole bunch of 600 registered voters indicated when they were surveyed. The poll, taken for the Sierra Club and released Tuesday, also found that people support new safeguards that would prevent such spills.

This may not seem surprising but the Sierra Club says the poll, coupled with a recent one in West Virginia with similar results, debunks the myth that people in coal-producing states aren’t keen on fossil fuel regulations.


• Seventy percent say they would be more likely to support a candidate who favors strong regulations and enforcement against future spills, including majorities among both Democrats and Republicans.
• Ninety percent said Duke Energy should clean up all its coal ash plants in the state, and 88 percent said the waste should be stored away from rivers in lined landfills.
• Eighty-three percent said coal ash should be regulated as a hazardous substance, something the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering this year.

A little more than half – 57 percent – fault state environmental regulators for not doing enough to prevent the Dan River spill.

“As we saw in West Virginia, this North Carolina coal spill has been a wake-up call for voters about the need to protect our water from toxic coal pollution,” Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s coal campaign, said in a news release. “This poll is yet another indication that Republicans, Democrats and independents in coal-dependent states want leaders who will stand up to big coal companies and enact common-sense initiatives to protect our air, our water and our families from toxic coal ash and pollution.”

The poll, conducted by the Democratic firm Hart Research Associates, has a margin of error of 4 percent. Here’s the entire survey:

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