HARRISBURG, Pa., June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Four out of five Pennsylvanians want stronger and faster state regulations against mercury pollution from power plants instead of the proposed federal rule, according to a poll released today at a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060425/PHTU035LOGO ) This poll comes as legislation is being considered in the General Assembly to ban the proposal by Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt a new regulation that the state's coal-fired power plants must reduce mercury pollution by 90 percent by 2015. The legislation would instead require Pennsylvania to follow the federal rule, which the Commonwealth and 13 other states, four Native American tribes and five environmental groups have challenged in court as illegal, and which could result in little appreciable mercury cleanup in Pennsylvania. The poll was performed for Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture), which is working with more than 60 organizations including the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, the Pennsylvania Parent Teachers Association, the Learning Disabilities Association and the Pennsylvania Council of Churches to support the state proposal. "Pennsylvanians across the state want stronger protection from mercury pollution and they appear willing to pay for it," said Jan Jarrett, vice president of PennFuture. "While they don't know the details of the current debate on how to regulate mercury, they certainly understand mercury's risk to developing babies and more than half are aware that the state's power plants create the lion's share of mercury pollution. Given these findings, it does not surprise me that four out of five citizens are willing to pay a dollar more per month in electricity costs to get the plants cleaned up." The poll highlights the priority most Pennsylvanians put on environmental protection generally, and mercury pollution control and public health specifically. For example, 86 percent want the state of Pennsylvania to do more to protect air quality, and 74 percent believe that mercury air emissions from power plants are a serious threat. Survey respondents also indicated that they believe government rules, not voluntary company actions, are likely to make a difference, with only 13 percent believing that power plants will cut pollution voluntarily. And on this issue, just like so many others, the respondents are impatient with elected officials; 63 percent are less likely to vote for an elected official who votes against the strong state rule. The poll of 506 Pennsylvanians was conducted by Terry Madonna Opinion Research of Lancaster from April 27 through May 9, 2006. The margin of error is 4.4 percent; final survey results were weighted to adjust for different selection probabilities and non-response. More details on the poll are available at http://www.pennfuture.org.
SOURCE Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)