Coalition Against LNG Conducts Poll That Finds Many Against LNG

3/15/04 Coalition Against LNG Conducts
Poll That Finds Many Against LNG
by Leann Whitten
The Eureka Reporter
A poll funded by the Humboldt Bay Coalition Against LNG found that 63 percent of Eureka registered voters oppose construction of a liquefied natural gas facility on Humboldt Bay.

The recently formed organization is comprised of the Fairhaven Residents’ Association, EPIC, Seventh Generation Fund and LNG Watch.

“When the project is described and arguments of supporters and opponents of the facility are presented, 63 percent of survey respondents oppose the LNG with nearly a majority — 48 percent — saying they are ‘strongly opposed,’” according to the pollsters’ key findings.

Interviews were conducted March 10 and 11 between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., said Don McDonough, co-founder of the firm that conducted the survey — Evans/McDonough Co.

The margin of error is ±5.7 percentage points, according to Evans/McDonough.

McDonough said a computer program randomized a list of Eureka’s registered voters and called the number three times throughout the polling period until going on to another name.

“Concerns about safety and the fishing and crab industries greatly outweigh any arguments that the facility will bring jobs and economic development,” according to the poll’s key findings. “Ninety-one percent of residents say they are concerned or very concerned about ‘protecting Humboldt’s commercial fishing and crabbing industries,’ and 82 percent state concern about ‘protecting tourism and recreational opportunities around Humboldt Bay.’”

Eighty-two percent of those surveyed had heard of or seen something about plans to build an LNG facility on Humboldt Bay.

“This high level of awareness indicates that residents are well-informed and are paying attention. It also means that levels of support and opposition are likely to remain fairly static,” according to Evans/McDonough. “Support is not likely to increase and additional information moves those who are undecided to opposition.”

Survey respondents were told, “Calpine wants to construct a liquefied natural gas or LNG facility and power plant, with liquefied natural gas transported by tankers to Humboldt Bay as often as twice as week. The gas would be stored in 15-story tall storage tanks, and then piped underneath Humboldt Bay and out to California’s Central Valley, a distance of 155 miles.

“Supporters say the plant would create up to 100 good-paying new jobs, drive economic growth for the county, generate tax revenue for Eureka’s schools and provide a clean source of energy for California.

“Opponents say the plant would put lives at risk in the event of an accident, earthquake or terrorist attack, dramatically reduce jobs in the fishing and crab industries, impede future economic development on the bay and pollute the environment.”