Environmental Management

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 634–645 | Cite as

Environmental Value Considerations in Public Attitudes About Alternative Energy Development in Oregon and Washington

  • Brent S. Steel
  • John C. Pierce
  • Rebecca L. Warner
  • Nicholas P. Lovrich


The 2013 Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy signed by the Governors of California, Oregon, and Washington and the Premier of British Columbia launched a broadly announced public commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through multiple strategies. Those strategies include the development and increased use of renewable energy sources. The initiative recognized that citizens are both a central component in abating greenhouse gas emissions with regard to their energy use behaviors, and are important participants in the public policymaking process at both state and local levels of government. The study reported here examines whether either support or opposition to state government leadership in the development of alternative energy technologies can be explained by environmental values as measured by the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP). The research results are based on mail surveys of randomly selected households conducted throughout Oregon and Washington in late 2009 and early 2010. Findings suggest that younger and more highly educated respondents are significantly more likely than older and less educated respondents to either support or strongly support government policies to promote bioenergy, wind, geothermal, and solar energy. Those respondents with higher NEP scores are also more supportive of government promotion of wind, geothermal, and solar technologies than are those with lower NEP scores. Support for wave energy does not show a statistical correlation with environmental values, maybe a reflection of this technology’s nascent level of development. The paper concludes with a consideration of the implications of these findings for environmental management.


Renewable energy policy Environmental values Public acceptance of energy technology New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) 



This research was supported by a Higher Education Challenge Grant from the United State Department of Agriculture (GRANT00561692), and by the School of Public Policy at Oregon State University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brent S. Steel
    • 1
  • John C. Pierce
    • 2
  • Rebecca L. Warner
    • 3
  • Nicholas P. Lovrich
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Public PolicyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.School of Public Affairs and AdministrationUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.Academic AffairsOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  4. 4.Political ScienceWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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