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Polis: Poll Confirms Support for Conservation Agenda

More than 80 percent of Colorado voters believe it is important for states to use funds to protect and restore the health of rivers, lakes and streams. (Pixabay)
More than 80 percent of Colorado voters believe it is important for states to use funds to protect and restore the health of rivers, lakes and streams. (Pixabay)
February 4, 2019

DENVER – Voters in Colorado and other western states continue to support conservation policies for publicly owned lands, putting them at odds with the Trump administration's energy dominance agenda, according to the ninth annual Conservation in the West Poll from Colorado College.

Gov. Jared Polis says the poll's results show a clear mandate to keep public lands accessible for outdoor recreation, which he sees as a vital part of the Colorado way of life.

"That's really one of the reasons that people choose to live here, why people move here, why people visit our state,” Polis says. “Over 500,000 people work in outdoor recreation and tourism that puts food on the table for their families."

Polis says the survey also confirms that voters see climate change as a major threat to agriculture, skiing and water supplies.

The new governor is making the transition to 100 percent renewable energy from power grids by 2040 a top priority, and he says he's committed to adding more clean energy jobs.

The Trump administration is taking steps to prioritize coal, oil and gas production on federal lands in an effort it maintains will reduce dependence on foreign sources.

Pollster Dave Metz says the survey shows voters overwhelmingly value conservation over resource extraction when it comes to public land management priorities.

"Almost two thirds of voters said that their priority was protecting sources of clean water, air quality and wildlife habitat – as well as opportunities for recreation – while only about one quarter said that producing more domestic energy was a priority for them," Metz points out.

Nearly 9 in 10 Coloradans believe the outdoor recreation economy is important for the future of the
state.

Conservation in the West is a bipartisan survey conducted by Republican and Democratic polling firms. The poll surveyed a minimum of 400 registered voters in eight western states, including Colorado.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO