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A poll of Tompkins County residents shows broad and firm support across all demographic groups for the repowering of the Cayuga Operating Company coal plant to natural gas and renewable energy sources. The positive poll results follow the May 31st announcement that Cayuga Operating Company plans to construct one of New York's largest solar farms at its existing site.

Residents surveyed were asked for their reaction to the following statement: "The Cayuga Operating Company is considering a plan to convert its power plant in Lansing from coal to natural gas without a public subsidy and also build a large solar farm on the property."

"As an initial question with no other information having been provided, the results are impressive: 64% of voters are favorable, 21% are neutral, and just 11% have unfavorable attitudes," said Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates, who conducted the survey. "While Tompkins County voters are broadly favorable to the Cayuga plant's conversion, there is also intensity in their attitudes--32% very favorable and 32% just somewhat favorable--which suggests an electorate that is firm in its support."

Hart Research Associates, a nationally respected polling firm, conducted the survey among a representative sample of 300 county residents from May 2 to May 4, 2017 on a broad array of questions about energy-related matters in Tompkins County. The poll, with a margin of error of +5.7%, was announced by several organizations supporting natural gas development in New York State, including IBEW Local 241, the New York Building and Construction Trades Council, The Business Council of New York State, Inc., and Cayuga Operating Company.

"Modernizing means construction jobs. As Cayuga Operating Company moves from a past of coal to a future of natural gas and renewable energy sources, we commend their commitment to union jobs in Lansing," said James Cahill, the President of the New York Building and Construction Trades Council. "As the poll results show, the people of Tompkins County support Cayuga's transition to a better energy future, and we couldn't be more proud to be a part of this progress. I look forward to a long and successful partnership with Cayuga."

"Repowering the Cayuga power plant with natural gas and utility scale solar will put the residents and businesses near the plant on a path to a better energy future," according to Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. "It is no surprise that residents near the Cayuga plant recognize the positive impact this project will have on their community. We are delighted by these poll results and urge all relevant parties to work together to move this project forward."

Yang further noted that the polling data demonstrates Tompkins County voters understand the environmental implications of fossil fuels. "But they are also practical and know the transition to a better energy future will take time," he said. "And they are saying that natural gas should be a part of this transition."

Officials from the Cayuga Operating Company recently announced plans for Cayuga Solar, an 18 MW solar facility to be co-located on 75 acres at the 434-acre coal plant ( They also indicated their support for a plan to transition away from coal by repowering Cayuga with natural gas, without a public subsidy. Cayuga officials say they are working on ways to continue coal operations at the Lansing plant in the interim, as economic conditions allow.

"We are committed to a 'New Cayuga'," said Jerry Goodenough, Cayuga's Vice President of Development. "We envision a site that combines renewables, energy storage and repowering to natural gas and, ultimately, becomes an energy park where local manufacturing and other energy-intensive commercial operations would be located. We think Cayuga will be a model for how coal plants can become an important part of the energy transition underway in New York and the United States."

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