Poll: Pacific Northwest voters support hydro as renewable

A new poll shows voters in the Pacific Northwest value hydropower, with 79 percent of those responding saying Congress and their state legislatures should include hydropower from dams as a renewable energy source.

Of those surveyed, 13 percent said they opposed declaring hydropower a renewable, while 8 percent said they did not know whether they favored or opposed such a declaration.

Those opinions were expressed in a poll of 700 registered voters in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Davis, Hibbitts and Midghall Inc. conducted the poll in February, measuring attitudes toward salmon, energy, and hydro as a renewable resource.

Respondents indicated electricity generated by hydropower dams is the most practical source for the Pacific Northwest to rely on for most of its energy needs. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said hydropower is the most practical renewable, followed by: wind power, 23 percent; nuclear power, 13 percent; and solar power, 6 percent. Four percent chose electricity generated by fossil fuel plants while another 4 percent did not express an opinion.

On a question about climate change, 69 percent of those surveyed said hydropower does not contribute to global warming or climate change. Another 15 percent said hydro does contribute to global warming or climate change, while 15 percent had no opinion.

The poll also found that two-thirds of Pacific Northwest voters contacted oppose breaching dams on the lower Snake River, viewing breaching as an extreme measure to improve salmon runs on the Columbia and Snake rivers. (HNN 5/12/09)

Poll results are on the Internet at NorthWest RiverPartners’ website, www.nwriverpartners.org. Northwest RiverPartners is an alliance of farmers, utilities, ports, and businesses that promote the economic and environmental benefits of the Columbia and Snake rivers and salmon recovery policies based on sound science.

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