New Poll: Southern California Customers Oppose Plan to Replace Nuclear Plant with Gas Plants Due to Climate Change, Air Quality Concerns

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Evan Gillespie, evan.gillespie@sierraclub.org, (203) 376-1679

New Poll: Southern California Customers Oppose Plan to Replace Nuclear Plant with Gas Plants Due to Climate Change, Air Quality Concerns

With decision looming, majorities oppose the state’s plan to replace San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station with dirty gas-fired power plants; concerns high among Latinos

Los Angeles, CA - Today the Sierra Club released a poll (http://sc.org/19Ri0F2) conducted by Public Policy Polling showing that a majority of customers in San Diego and Orange counties oppose Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build new gas-fired plants to replace the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, due to concerns about air quality and impacts on climate disruption. Strong majorities of southland utility customers would prefer that the nuclear plant be replaced with clean energy like wind, solar, or energy efficiency, including strong support among Latino customers. The plan is currently being fast-tracked through the governor-appointed California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and a decision is expected by the end of this month.

“These poll results are a forceful rejection of Governor Brown and state regulators’ dirty power proposal. Spending billions on more dirty gas plants is completely out of step with the public’s desire to see more clean energy and less pollution and carbon emissions,” said Evan Gillespie, Director of the Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign. “Rather than doubling down on fossil fuels, Californians are once again demanding clean energy solutions. With so many clean alternatives and so much public support, why are Governor Brown and the CPUC propping up dirty energy?”

"Latinos by wide margins want their elected leaders to do more to address the pollution that plagues our neighborhoods and contributes to climate disruption,” said Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org, a Latino advocacy organization. “It’s troubling to learn that Governor Brown and the Public Utilities Commission are rushing through approval of more gas-fired power plants without really fully considering how they will impact the air we breathe in Southern California.”

Key findings:

- A strong majority of customers (56%) would prefer a replacement plan that uses only clean, renewable energy sources and energy efficiency in Southern California. This preference for a clean energy plan is also found among Latino customers, 52% of whom prefer a plan that uses only clean, renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.

- The vast majority of customers (81%) say it's important that a replacement strategy for San Onofre not lead to new air pollution in Southern California (55% say it is "very" important and 26% say it's "somewhat" important). Among Latino customers, a similar percentage say it's important that a replacement strategy not lead to new pollution (80%).

- Three in five customers (60%) and 62% of Latino customers say that Governor Brown and other state leaders "should do more to address climate disruption by taking actions like promoting more clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar and avoiding more polluting power plants."

Full poll results here: http://sc.org/19Ri0F2

“Here in San Diego, we have already been battling against gas-fired power plants for the smog pollution, asthma attacks, and other side effects that come with them,” said Kathleen Connell, Sierra Club volunteer. “Natural gas is a dirty fossil fuel that sickens our families and hurts our planet, and people here are against the state’s proposal to lock us into more pollution.”

Background:

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station powered down in January of 2012 over safety concerns.

Last month, more than 70 activists from Southern California bused overnight to the CPUC office in San Francisco to protest the plan’s impact on their air quality, and to cite the lack of a public hearing in Southern California.

Southern California already suffers from some of the dirtiest air in the nation. In the American Lung Association’s 2013 State of the Air Report, Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Diego County all received “F” grades for particulate matter and ozone, the two primary byproducts from natural gas peaker plants.

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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