Americans to Congress: Pass Alternative Energy Legislation First

U.S. Capitol (via Flickr's Krossbow)
If you’re a member of Congress who wants to do something to make almost everyone in your district happy – no matter their political affiliation – a new Gallup poll says your best bet would be to vote for legislation encouraging the development of alternative energy.

Reports Climatewire (sub. req.):

Of eight issues Congress could tackle this year, Americans most favor an energy bill that would provide incentives for solar and other alternative energy sources, according to a new Gallup poll.

Eighty-three percent of individuals would favor such energy legislation, placing the issue ahead of overhauling the federal tax code, speeding up withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, addressing illegal immigration or passing stronger gun control laws, the poll said. Americans also favor an alternative-energy bill more than one expanding oil and gas drilling, Gallup said.

The poll shows incredibly broad support across political affiliations – 75% of Republicans, 82% of independents, and 93% Democrats want an alternative energy bill signed into law. Says Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones:

With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and Democrats in control of the Senate, it would appear the proposals with the best chances of passing are those that generate strong bipartisan support. That is clearly the case for a bill that would provide incentives for increased use of alternative energy.

The Gallup numbers echo previous poll data. A poll (PDF) last year by the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change found 85% of Americans backed increased funding for solar and wind energy.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to eliminate taxpayer handouts to oil companies, fund the clean energy “Apollo projects of our time, and have 80% of America’s electricity to come from clean energy sources like wind and solar by 2035. On Wednesday, President Obama met with Sen. Jeff Bingaman, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to begin the process of fleshing out details.

Despite the widespread support of the American people, you can bet polluters and their allies will fight hard to keep us hooked on dirty, unhealthy energy sources. When they do, the National Wildlife Federation will be ready to fight not only on behalf of our millions of members and supporters, but for the 83% of Americans who know we can achieve a clean energy future.

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Published: February 3, 2011