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Poll: WY Voters Support Balanced Conservation and Energy Development

Nearly four in five voters surveyed support incentives for Wyoming farmers and ranchers to conserve wildlife habitat on their lands, while at the same time operating as a working farm or ranch. (NPS)
Nearly four in five voters surveyed support incentives for Wyoming farmers and ranchers to conserve wildlife habitat on their lands, while at the same time operating as a working farm or ranch. (NPS)
December 10, 2018

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming voters overwhelmingly support a balanced approach to conservation, according to a new survey.

Scott Zimmerman, a government affairs representative with Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, says the results confirm that residents want clean air, responsible energy development, and protection for wildlife habitat.

He notes two-thirds of respondents support reducing natural gas waste and methane pollution from oil and gas operations.

"The people that participated in the survey are comfortable with the regulations that have been in place in the Jonah field and the Pinedale anticline in Southwest Wyoming, and would like to see those regulations apply to the rest of the state as well," he states.

The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a firm that traditionally does polling for Republican clients.

Nearly 60 percent of voters want to keep existing sage grouse plans in place, only one-in-three want to see changes.

Last week the Trump administration announced a major shift in sage grouse land management, the latest in a series of efforts to remove barriers for oil and gas development in order to achieve what it calls energy dominance.

Zimmerman says protections in place in Wyoming and other states have not prevented a surge in oil and gas production.

According to Bloomberg, in November the U.S. became a net exporter of oil, breaking 75 years of dependence on foreign imports.

"I think the Trump administration has some good moves that they're making, but it also proves that a state can put in regulations that don't hinder development at their own level, as well," Zimmerman states.

Nearly 8-in-10 voters support a provision in the federal Farm Bill that provides financial incentives for landowners to conserve wildlife habitat on their working farms or ranches.

That survey was released by the Wyoming Conservation Legacy, a coalition of agricultural and outdoor sports organizations.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY