Saturday, July 13, 2024

Louisiana Residents Divided on Renewable Energy Expansion, Survey Finds

by BIZ Magazine

BATON ROUGE – A recent report from the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication reveals that Louisiana residents are divided on the expansion of renewable energy. The 2024 Louisiana Survey shows strong support for both fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, but opinions differ on the economic and environmental impacts of transitioning to renewable energy.

The survey, which included telephone and online interviews with over 1,000 adult residents between March and April 2024, found that a significant majority supports expanding offshore oil and gas drilling (75%), as well as solar panel farms (72%) and wind turbine farms (59%). However, when asked to prioritize between developing alternative energy sources like wind, solar, and hydrogen technology or expanding exploration and production of oil, coal, and natural gas, respondents were nearly evenly split, with 49% favoring renewables and 47% favoring fossil fuels.

Dr. Michael Henderson, director of the Louisiana Survey, noted the nuanced views among residents. “While there is clear support for renewable energy, skepticism remains about its broader benefits,” Henderson said. The survey highlighted that 52% of respondents believe a shift to renewable energy would improve local air and water quality. However, fewer believe it would positively affect job opportunities (30%), energy costs (34%), everyday expenses (20%), or extreme weather events (19%).

The survey also revealed a critical view of the state government’s environmental efforts. A majority of residents believe the state is not doing enough to protect air quality (55%) and water quality (55%). Conversely, 57% think the state is adequately protecting animals and their habitats. Opinions are mixed on climate change, with 44% saying the state is doing too little to mitigate its effects. Notably, 76% of those who experienced severe weather, such as flooding or intense storms, believe climate change contributed to these events.

Coastal land loss is another major concern. Most respondents (57%) believe it will significantly harm coastal communities, while fewer see substantial harm to the state’s economy (40%) or infrastructure (41%). Coastal residents, in particular, perceive greater risks from land loss compared to those living inland.

The Louisiana Survey, conducted annually since 2003, aims to track public opinion on state government services and contemporary policy issues. This year’s findings reflect ongoing debates about energy policy and environmental protection in Louisiana.

For more detailed findings and analysis, the final report of the 2024 Louisiana Survey is available on the LSU Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs website. Dr. Michael Henderson is available for interviews and can be contacted via [email protected].

About the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs

The Reilly Center, part of the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication, is dedicated to fostering dialogue and research on mass communication’s relationship with social, economic, and political issues. The Louisiana Survey is one of its flagship projects, providing valuable insights into public opinion trends in the state.

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