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Poll: 79 Percent of Arizonans Support Renewable Energy Funding Conservation

PHOTO: Four out of five Arizonans support revenues from renewable-energy development in the state benefiting conservation projects on public lands impacted by development, according to a new poll. Photo credit: U.S. Energy Department.
PHOTO: Four out of five Arizonans support revenues from renewable-energy development in the state benefiting conservation projects on public lands impacted by development, according to a new poll. Photo credit: U.S. Energy Department.
September 10, 2014

PHOENIX - Four out of five Arizonans support revenues from wind-and-solar energy development in the state benefiting local and state governments, as well as funding conservation projects on lands impacted by development. That's according to the "Multi-State Western Survey" released today.

Ian Dowdy is program director with the Sonoran Institute which is among the groups that sponsored the survey. It found 79 percent of Arizonans "strongly favor" or "somewhat favor" revenues from renewable energy being returned to the state.

"It's pretty clear that Arizonans really are supporting not only the development of renewable energy in the state, but they really care about how that money is distributed," Dowdy says.

Under the current system, according to Dowdy, revenue from leases and other fees linked to renewable-energy development on public lands goes into the general fund of the federal budget.

He says legislation moving through Congress, called the "Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act," would return half of the money to county and state governments. Dowdy says 35 percent of what could be millions of dollars each year would pay for conservation projects on public lands.

"So it would go directly back to helping restore some of the long-term impacts that have occurred from development on public lands over the last century in Arizona," says Dowdy.

The Bureau of Land Management, according to Dowdy, has identified several hundred thousand acres in Arizona that can be used for solar energy development.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ