Recently CFACT, Abilene conducted a survey to measure student-opinion regarding the proposed clean-coal Tenaska Trailblazer power plant.
The chapter President, Aaron Escobedo noted that, “we questioned nearly 20 percent of the ACU student body and found that support is nearly unanimous among students for building the power plant.”
The CFACT chapter surveyed a total of 800 students. The total student population at Abilene Christian University is just over 4,000.
The first question asked students, “Do you support the construction of an advanced new, clean coal electrical facility in Sweetwater, TX?” The survey found that 86 percent of respondents support building the plant while 14 percent do not.
The second question on the survey addressed the water use issue that has been suggested as the most controversial aspect of the plant. When specifically asked about this issue, students continued to
support the coal plant with 75% approval, with 25% of respondents opposing.
CFACT’s National Director Bill Gilles explained the results, “We found that ACU students almost universally support the construction of the plant. And even when made aware of the controversial aspects of the water use issue, students continue to support the plant at a 3-1 clip.”
Ryan Sorba participated in collecting the survey and reported that while students were concerned about water use, “Most students were aware that the plant was using dry cooling techniques that used
wastewater or untreated water, and that steps had been taken to reduce the impact on water use.”
The results show support for the plant is strong. Survey respondents who supported the plant noted the clean-coal environmental improvements and the economic benefits of the plant. The Sweetwater facility would be among the first to capture between 85 percent to 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. It would emit less sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide than any existing coal plant in
It is estimated that the plant would create between 1,500 and 2,000 new construction-related jobs and more than 100 permanent jobs once the plant starts operating. The plant would create a substantial amount of affordable energy –far more than the wind-mills outside the city which have been known to
kill birds flying through their blades.
This poll stands in sharp contrast to a telephone poll conducted by a professor who is a member of Abilenians Against Tenaska last October. That poll questioned 525 Sweetwater residents. It found that only 36 percent of residents oppose the plant’s construction and 47 percent of
residents support it.
Gilles remarked, “People are often surprised when college students support new energy projects, especially when the loudest voices on campus are the radical environmentalists that oppose coal and other energy projects. While their voices are loud, their numbers are small – and most people support the production of new, clean, affordable energy.”