89% of Voters Concerned Failure by Legislature to Establish Clear Rules and Better Distribute Costs Will Hurt Wildfire Prevention Efforts and Ultimately Increase Electric Bills
SACRAMENTO — Today, Action for Wildfire Resiliency released a new statewide survey of California voters showing the vast majority (73%) say the increasing risk of wildfires is a serious problem, and that many diverse parties should bear financial responsibility. Broad majorities worry that failure to change laws to better address the cost of recovery after wildfires will hurt prevention efforts and could jeopardize electric reliability and increase customer bills.
“California voters identify climate change, years of drought and forest mismanagement as the primary causes of the increasingly devastating wildfires in our state,” said Robin Swanson, spokesperson for Action for Wildfire Resiliency. “And 80% recognize our current laws need to be updated to better reflect the realities of climate change and increased fire risk.”
“The biggest takeaway from this statewide survey is the voters’ overwhelming view that inaction could cost Californians more,” she added. “A clear framework needs to be enacted by the legislature before the next catastrophe strikes.”
Action for Wildfire Resiliency is urging the California State Legislature and the Governor to pass a legislative package before the legislative recess commences on July 12 to help the state better prevent, prepare for, respond to and rebuild from wildfires.
Among the specific findings of the survey of California voters:
- 73% identify the increasing risk of wildfires as a very or extremely serious problem
- Climate change and drought were cited in an open-ended question as the biggest cause of wildfires (38%) followed by human error (17%) and forest mismanagement (12%)
- 80% say California’s laws and regulations about fire prevention and accountability are outdated and need to better reflect the realities of climate change and increased fire risks.
- 75% believe paying for and recovering from catastrophic wildfires is too large and too expensive for any one company or industry to handle
- 80% of voters believe that if their electric utility goes bankrupt, electricity bills will rise
- 68% of voters are concerned that if their electric utility goes bankrupt, it could make service less reliable
- 89% are concerned that if new proposed laws don’t establish clear rules and accountability for costs, it could jeopardize investor-owned utilities’ ability to invest in wildfire prevention and/or increase electricity bills.
Please find the polling memo here.
The survey was conducted in June 2019 by FM3 Research. Results show findings from a survey of likely voters in California.
Action for Wildfire Resiliency supports:
- Enhanced prevention with clear accountability
- Increased investment in emergency response and preparedness
- Adequate investment in skilled workers, and
- A fiscally responsible approach to recovery—the establishment of a Wildfire Recovery Fund