Nearly half of the residents who live near the controversial Indian Point nuclear plant oppose a plan to close the aging facility, a NY1/YNN Marist College poll found.

The poll found 49 percent of adults living near the facility are at odds with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s vow to close the Westchester County facility.

Forty percent of Hudson Valley residents say they back closing the nuclear plant, while 11 percent remain unsure.

“After all these years, this remains a highly charged issue,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Governor Cuomo still has some convincing to do.”

Indian Point became a renwed issue of concern after a Japanese power plant was heavily damaged by a Tsunami. The facility does rest on a fault line, but the facility’s owners, Entergy, have insisted the plant remains secure in the event of an earthquake.

Overall, 48 percent of New York residents told Marist College want to keep the plan open and 42 percent of New Yorkers support closing it. Fifty-two percent of New Yorkers say they support nuclear power, while 36 oppose.

Cuomo hopes that with the long-sought approval of the Article X power-plant siting law, New York can begin to build new power plants and take Indian Point offline. The plant is the predominant supplier of power for New York City, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said closing the plant would lead to higher energy bills and blackouts.

The Marist poll also found divergent attitudes on another hotly debated energy issue: hydraulic fracturing.

The natural-gas extraction process known commonly as hydrofracking, has the supprot of 37 percent of respondents and 33 percent oppose. A large amount of New Yorkers — 30 percent — say they haven’t made up their minds.

The process, which involves blasting a mixture of chemicals and water underground in order to extract gas underneath, is seen as a potential economic boon for the upstate region, but environmentalists fear it could damage public water supplies.

Hydrofracking is being eyed for the Southern Tier region’s Marcellus Shale formation, which is believed to be especially natural-gas rich. The Department of Environmental Conservation is the midst of developing regulations that could potentially allow for high-volume hydrofracking in some parts of the upstate region.

Interestingly, the cross tabulations show 45 percent of upstate residents oppose hydrofracking, the highest level of opposition compared to New York City and suburuban residents. Support is strongest — 38 percent — in the suruburan counties.

The telephone poll, conducted from July 28 through July 31, surveyed 600 adults age 18 and over, and 517 were registered voters. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Complete August 16th, 2011 NYS Poll Release and Tables