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Poll: Support for Public Lands Cuts Across Political Lines

February 2, 2012

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - From the Tea Party to Occupy Wall Street, support for protection of public lands, clean water and clean air cuts across political boundaries in the West, according to the results of a poll released this week.

The Colorado College poll, "State of the Rockies: Conservation in the West," found that westerners of all political persuasions value governmental protections to maintain the West's wide open spaces and wildlife, and ensure water and air quality.

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., says he's not surprised that Coloradans value environmental protections and clean energy sources.

"In the process, you create jobs, you protect our land and water and you make Colorado a really attractive place to do business. Our public lands and our clean air and clean water not only keep part of our way of life but also are an important part of our economy."

The study found that 93 percent of respondents agree that national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas are an essential part of Colorado's economy.

Two polling firms - one Republican and one Democratic - conducted the study. Dave Metz, a pollster with Fairbanks, Maslin, Maulin, Metz and Associates, says two-thirds of Colorado respondents believe environmental protections and development of clean-energy standards can help bolster the economy.

"We see a strong conservation ethic in the West. Voters believe there is not only compatibility between policies that will protect the environment and having a good economy, but in a number of specific areas like renewable energy use, they believe that pursuing these policies will create jobs."

This is the second year of the "Conservation in the West" survey. The full study is online at coloradocollege.edu.

Kathleen Ryan, Public News Service - CO