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7 in 10 TN Voters Support Clean Options Over Old, Dirty Coal

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013


February 12, 2013

Jenna Garland, (404) 607-1262 x 222, jenna.garland@sierraclub.org
Grace McRae, (202) 495-3028, grace.mcrae@sierraclub.org

New Poll Shows Seven in Ten TN Voters Support Cleaner Options Over TVA Old Coal Plants
TVA’s Billion-Dollar Plans Out of Touch with Voters

NASHVILLE, TN – A new poll conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows a majority of voters believe the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) should make investments in cleaner energy sources and energy efficiency to meet Tennessee’s energy needs.  The poll was commissioned by the Sierra Club, and surveyed 600 Tennessee voters from February 1-3, 2013. The Sierra Club has been working with allied organizations and individuals to demonstrate the public’s opposition to TVA’s plans to spend more than one billion dollars to keep the aging Gallatin coal-burning power plant running. Since August 2012, thousands of people have signed petitions to TVA and more than 200 people crowded Nashville’s Looby Theater on Thursday, February 7, to call on TVA to reconsider its plans. Today’s poll shows overwhelming public support for pursuing clean energy and energy efficiency solutions for Tennessee, rather than spending millions of dollars to prop up the energy sources of the past.

“We’ve proven that TVA can phase out the Gallatin coal plant and replace it with energy efficiency for the same or lower cost as installing pollution control equipment, and this poll shows that seven in ten voters prefer energy efficiency programs – which will help build Tennessee’s economy - over keeping an old and dirty coal plant running,” said Louise Gorenflo, lead volunteer with Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Tennessee. “To me, and the voters surveyed in this poll, the right choice for TVA is clear: it’s time to replace the Gallatin plant with smart energy efficiency programs.”

Jim Williams, with Public Policy Polling, added, “More than seven in ten (72%) voters noticed an increase in their monthly electricity bill last year. That means Tennesseans are paying attention to the cost of electricity, and they are eager for solutions. Seven in ten voters support phasing out the Gallatin plant and replacing it with cleaner sources of energy and energy efficiency, and the billion-dollar price tag for the plant retrofits is clearly a major concern for voters.”

TVA currently plans to spend more than $1 billion to retrofit the Gallatin Fossil Plant with pollution controls in order for the 54 year old plant to meet national air quality standards. Moving forward with TVA’s retrofit plans will affect the Cumberland River Aquatic Center, one of the world’s most successful hatcheries for endangered freshwater mussels, and may cause the Center to close or relocate. TVA will also need to address harmful air pollution levels at additional coal plants across the Southeast, proposing to spend more than $11 billion to install retrofits at three additional coal plants in the region along with the Gallatin plant.

“When voters learned of TVA’s plans to spend more than eleven billion dollars total to retrofit Gallatin and three additional coal-burning power plants, an overwhelming number – 73% - said they would support alternative options like energy efficiency programs,” added Gorenflo. “TVA is out of touch here. Tennessee voters deserve twenty-first century energy solutions now.”

The poll’s margin of error is +/-4.0% points at the 95% confidence level.





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