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Poll: Oklahomans support more regulation of wind energy development; Oppose taxpayer subsidies

OKLAHOMA CITY – 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, 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 was commissioned by the Oklahoma Property Rights Association to conduct the survey.

The scientific study was conducted from June 5-12, 2014 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.