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New Poll Finds Latino Voters Reject Coal Exports

New research released today by Latino Decisions and the Latino Policy Coalition finds that Latino voters oppose new efforts to increase coal exports to China and Asia from the West Coast.  As the U.S. considers expanding the export of coal to China, a clear majority of Latino voters reject this proposal by a margin of roughly 6-to-1.  Overall, 64% of Latinos said the amount of coal exported to China should be decreased compared to just 11% who thought it should be increased.  Opposition to coal exports were consistent across party affiliation with According to an article in Time Magazine last year titled “The Scariest Environmental Fact in the World” coal burning accounts for 20% of global greenhouse-gas emissions by itself and China has increased coal burning so rapidly that it now burns as much coal as the rest of the entire world combined.  In order to reach this expanding market, the coal industry in the U.S. wants to quadruple coal exports to China from 35 million tons to 140 million tons.

The Latino Policy Coalition/Latino Decisions poll, on behalf of the Renewable Energy Accountability Project (REAP) asked Latino voters a specific question about the new export policies under consideration.  By a 2-to-1 margin, Latino voters said they would support a new export policy to curb the shipment of coal from the U.S. to China and other Asian markets from West Coast ports.  Overall 59% of Latino voters said they would support new export policies to stop coal exports to China and just 27% said they would oppose such a policy.

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Latino Policy Coalition Chair, Jim Gonzalez, put the results into context stating: “These are dramatic findings that need to be taken  most seriously by the Governors of California, Oregon, and Washington State as they formulate policies and action plans to implement their recent historic climate change agreement.”

According to Latino Decisions senior analyst, Adrian Pantoja, an expert on Latino public opinion on environmental issues “Like many other Americans, Latinos care deeply about a variety of issues, including protecting the environment. In the latest national survey a significant majority of Latinos were again shown to favor policies aimed at reducing air pollution and preventing climate change.”  Pantoja is referring to a 2013 survey in which Latino Decisions found that 84% of Latinos favor the EPA setting more strict air pollution safeguards and 86% would support the President using his executive authority to set promote rules that limit carbon pollution.

The findings from today’s poll release confirm Latinos general support for environmental protection and opposition to carbon pollution. In fact, this is the first poll to question Latinos on the specific topic of coal exports to China, and comes at a time when the U.S. government grapples with coal export policy in the West.  The Washington Post has reported coal companies are looking to Washington state, Oregon and California to expand coal exports to China, and others have reported that now is a key time frame for the battles over new coal terminals on the West Coast.

Matt Barreto | January 14, 2014 at 4:00 am | URL: http://wp.me/p2pmW3-1QP

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