Results from the latest SoonerPoll indicate that likely Oklahoma voters, who in other polling typically oppose more regulation, believe there is not enough regulation of wind energy development or oversight of wind tax subsidies in the state.

Slightly more than two-thirds (68.4%) of Oklahomans support more regulation to ensure wind turbines are properly maintained in order to avoid potential safety hazards, and 62.7 percent support local governments having more input into the development of wind energy in their areas.

Voters also want to see the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which currently oversees all other electrical generating facilities in the state except for electricity created by wind, to regulate wind energy as well, with 72.4 percent in support.

“I think Oklahomans were a little astounded to learn how little regulation and significant tax subsidies for wind energy exist today,” said Bill Shapard, who is CEO of SoonerPoll and conducted the poll. “Oklahomans are sensible people, want sensible oversight from the government, and expect sensible spending.”

Respondents opposed current tax policies for the wind industry, which provide significant state subsidies estimated at more than $1 billion over the next 10 years. When Oklahomans were told that energy was being sold outside the state, meaning non-Oklahomans were reaping the benefit of low cost energy, more than two-thirds (69.6%) opposed the subsidy.

Currently, wind energy companies are given an ad valorem tax exemption (corporate taxes to support local schools and municipalities), without having to show the creation of any jobs as other companies are required to do. In the poll, 62.3 percent of voters opposed this special exemption.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, was commissioned by the Oklahoma Property Rights Association to conduct the survey. The scientific study was conducted from June 5-12th with 306 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a dual frame of both landline telephone and cell phones. The sample was weighted by age, sex and landline/cell phone usage, and stratified using a model of likely voters.  The study has a margin of error of ± 4.9 percent.

5 COMMENTS

  1. This SoonerPoll was commissioned by the OK Property Right Association, an anti-wind organization seeking the answers provided by their paid pollster. Had the questions been framed differently, we would have seen different responses from Oklahomans who want income from leasing their property for wind turbines the same way other Oklahomans benefit financially from oil and gas leases. With wind, however, other citizens don’t suffer damage to their property caused by oil spilled frackquakes resulting from high-pressure, frack water disposal injection wells, which are the result of gas and oil exploration. The Environmental Law Institute reports that actually $72.2 billion in federal energy subsidies went to fossil fuels, $16.8 billion to corn ethanol, and $12.2 billion to all renewable energy sources combined. The wind production tax credit was comparatively small — $1.2 billion, although the wind industry currently supports an estimated 75,000 jobs and installed an estimated 12 gigawatts of wind capacity in 2012 (most recent data available) — more than any other energy source. Plus, the Department of Energy estimates that the US would eliminate 825 million tons of greenhouse gas emission if we generated 20% of our power through wind. It would be enlightening to have input from an impartial poll conducted for an impartial client who didn’t already know what the results would be.

    • Tim, thank you for your comments. I would ask you then, if the wind energy commissioned questions with a pollster should we then consider that they were “seeking the answers provided by their paid pollster”? You can’t have it both ways. Also, you talk about property owners benefiting from oil and gas leases, but our questions in no way was intended to keep that from happening, only put both wind and oil/gas industries on equal footing. Certainly, you believe the Corporation Commission should oversee the wind energy in this state since it oversees all other electrical generation except for wind, and Oklahomans overwhelmingly agree with that. So, do you deny that those results are biased as well? It is natural for those who do not agree with the poll results to attack it as “impartial” but if the wind energy commissioned polling to be conducted I hope you would say the same about those results as well.

  2. When a poll with such a small sample size, and such an unexpected result occurs, one immediately would like to see the questions that were asked. Polls, while often a powerful and useful tool, are capable of obtaining a desired result through the wording of the questions. Also, of course, we’d like to know who commissioned this poll.

    • Joel, this is not a small sample size. The theory of large numbers begins around 300 of a probability sample within any given population. This is science. I suggest that if you think the sample is too small, the next time you go to the doctor and have a blood sample drawn, tell the doctor to take more — that his sample is too small. Also, who commissioned the poll was listed in the article. Obviously, you were going to disagree with the results regardless because of your very liberal views, but it might be wise to read all of the results and information with an open mind before impulsively attacking them.

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