Voters in the high-elevation energy belt aren’t buying the anti-fracking hype, according to a recent poll released by the Tarrance Group and commissioned by the Western Energy Alliance.
WEA, formerly IPAMS, is taking an aggressive stance in defending the drilling industry and as part of that, it sought out the opinions of 1,000 high-performance voters in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, North Dakota and Montana. Turns out those voters aren’t buying the anti-drilling drumbeat of the environmental organizations.
The survey respondents are uninterested in a ban on hydraulic fracking, it turns out. A strong majority, 58 percent, oppose such a ban while 28 percent support one. That 28 percent is dwarfed by the 38 percent who strongly oppose the ban.
Survey respondents were far from unaware of fracking, which refers to hydraulic fracturing, the process by which water, sand and other substances are injected at high pressure into the earth thousands of feet below the surface to free oil and natural gas, which then is pumped up and into the nation’s energy system. Eighty-two percent of respondents were familiar with fracturing, called “controversial” by the environmental lobby, but which has been in use since the 1940s. In fact more than 1 million frack jobs have been completed in the United States.
Tim Wigley, the president of the WEA, outlined the results of the survey before Club 20 on the West Slope, telling the group that the survey results “are bad news for” President Barack Obama.
More than two-thirds of the respondents, 69 percent, said they believed the country was on the wrong track, 59 percent emphatically so.
Survey respondents favor development of all energy alternatives with 55 percent answering the question affirmatively, 39 percent strongly so. But 54 percent disapproved of the president’s energy policy and only 37 percent approved.
Perhaps the strongest response was a solid rebuke of Obama’s energy policy: 72 percent want more energy production from federal lands, and more than half, 56 percent, felt strongly so.
Wigley, a veteran of western resource and land management battles, said that support for domestic energy production comes despite the industry’s historical ham-handedness in attempting to influence public opinion.
“The industry is generally terrible about how it communicates with the public,” Wigley said.