NY25 Residents Find Common Ground on Energy and the Environment

Rep. Morelle Attends “Citizen Panel Forum” to Discuss New Findings – In a unique survey of 449 residents of New York’s 25th Congressional District, majorities of Republicans and Democrats approved of a number of proposals under consideration in Congress to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases.

The survey results were released at an online “Citizen Panel Forum” on Saturday. Congressman Joe Morelle attended and discussed the findings with dozens of the residents of the 25th District who took the online survey.

The survey, conducted by the Program for Public Consultation (PPC) of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, showed that large bipartisan majorities favored a number of policies under consideration in Congress to address emissions, including:

  • tax credits for clean energy, energy-saving technologies and electric vehicles
  • higher energy-efficiency regulations on cars and trucks
  • minimum renewable energy requirements for utilities

A large majority also favored a carbon fee and rebate plan, while Republicans were divided. 

“While there are still debates about the importance of addressing climate change, large majorities of Republicans and Democrats agree on many steps that will reduce both air pollution and greenhouse gases,” said PPC Director Steven Kull. 

“At a time when Americans are incredibly polarized, Citizen Panel forums provide opportunities for Americans to focus on where we agree and how our policies can reflect that agreement,” said Jillian Youngblood, executive director of Civic Genius. “Working together across divisions doesn’t require anyone to leave their values at the door; it just requires a willingness to listen and engage.”

Four hundred forty-nine New York residents from the 25th District participated in the online survey, initiated by the nonpartisan organizations Voice of the People and Civic Genius. Respondents went through a process called a ‘policymaking simulation’ that gives users information and seeks to put them in the shoes of a policymaker. 

Respondents are provided a briefing, presented with pro and con arguments, and then asked to weigh-in with their specific recommendations. The content was reviewed in advance by experts on all sides to assure accuracy and balance.

The survey and the Citizen Panel Forum are part of a larger Citizen Panel Initiative, sponsored by Voice of the People and Civic Genius, that seeks to give citizens tools to more effectively understand and weigh-in on decisions before Congress, to give members of Congress a better understanding of their constituents, and to discern the potential for bipartisan convergence.

The proposal that received the highest level of support was the one requiring electric companies to have a minimum portion of their supply come from renewable energy sources. Eight in ten favored this proposal nationally, as did 67% of Republicans and 88% of Democrats.

All of the thirteen tax credit proposals — some of which would renew or expand existing ones, and others which would create new credits — were favored by majorities of about six in ten or more, including majorities of both Republicans and Democrats. 

Increasing the energy-efficiency requirements (i.e. CAFE rules) for cars and trucks, which respondents were told would increase the sales prices of such vehicles, also garnered support from around three in four nationally. This included majorities of both Republicans and Democrats.

The most significant proposal – a carbon fee of $35 per ton of emissions with all the revenue returned to citizens through monthly rebate checks totalling about $450 annually — received large majority support. Overall, 69 percent were in favor of this plan, including 84 percent of Democrats. Republicans were split fifty-fifty, but 65 percent found the proposal at least “tolerable.” 

Members of the public can go through the same policymaking simulation at: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6219068/NY25-Energy-Policy-Public 

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