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Survey: Growing Support for Sustainable Growth in Nevada

April 9, 2008

Reno, NV – There's growing support for sustainable growth in northern Nevada, according to a new survey being released today. It shows a majority of voters want lawmakers to balance growth plans with natural resources.

Pam Galloway is with Voices For a Sustainable Washoe County, the group that commissioned the poll. She says the survey finds 58 percent of likely voters in Washoe favor a ballot measure that requires land use plans to be balanced with identifiable and sustainable water supplies.

"This validates what we have been trying to say to the public officials: Many people are concerned about water supply. We don't want to stop growth, we know we need to grow, but we want to grow within how much water we have."

Right now Washoe has a population of 400,000. Galloway says there is enough water to support population growth to 600,000 people, but land use plans that would push the population over 1 million aren't sustainable.

Because Washoe County Commissioners declined to put sustainable growth initiatives on the ballot, supporters have to gather 22,000 signatures by mid-June, Galloway adds.

"They're making us go door-to-door and stand out in front of grocery stores gaining signatures, and we have armies of people doing that. All we have to say is 'water' and 'growth,' and people are practically grabbing our pens and clip boards out of our hands."

The Washoe survey follows closely on the heels of one taken in Las Vegas, where Launce Rake with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada agrees it's clear that voters are fed up with runaway growth.

"They're all saying the same thing: 'We need growth that makes sense for our communities.' But right now we've got government policies that are basically being written and pushed by the developers and casino interests. We need something that is more all-encompassing for every member of our community."

The non-partisan poll surveyed 600 people who vote regularly in county elections and are likely to vote on this issue.

Michael Clifford/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NV