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Texas Voters: We Love Free Renewables

Arpil 28, 2009
By Russell Gold
Wall Street Journal

What would J. R. Ewing think?

A new poll of Texans found strong support for renewable fuels, even in this state that still lionizes Spindletop and has built two world-class university systems with petro-dollars.

According to the poll, 85% of respondents favored increasing the production and use of renewable energy in Texas. And more than three-quarters said they thought the state should provide "financial incentives, such as loans, subsidies and temporary tax reductions to recruit renewable energy businesses."

This wasn'ta push-poll from a group of tree huggers either. The poll was commissioned by the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. That's George Mitchell of Mitchell Energy fame, the guy who more or less discovered the prolific Barnett Shale and built the Woodlands development north of Houston. He sold Mitchell Energy toDevon Energy in 2002 for a cool $3.5 billion. The pollster is Mike Baselice of Baselice & Assoc. of Austin, who works for Republican Gov. Rick Perry. The margin of error on the poll is +/- 3.2%.

Getting back to the results, everyone loves green energy, including Texans, as long as it doesn't impact the green in their wallet. But even here a majority favored an increase in their bills.

Asked if they favor requiring a certain amount of electricity be generated from solar power, 61% said they were in favor. "Support for the requirement is lower, but still a majority (53%) when respondents learn that this requirement could increase their household electric bill by two to three dollars per month," Mr. Baselice wrote in a memo summarizing the poll results. The opposition number rose from 30% to 43% when the cost was added to the question.

So, support drops over the cost of a Starbucks latte. No wonder there is such a huge fight over what cap-and-trade legislation would cost.

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