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Poll: Nevadans Favor Public-Lands Conservation Over Energy Production

A new poll shows a large majority of westerners disapprove of federal efforts to shrink national monuments. (Friends of Gold Butte)
A new poll shows a large majority of westerners disapprove of federal efforts to shrink national monuments. (Friends of Gold Butte)
February 1, 2019

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Almost two-thirds of Nevadans oppose the Trump administration's emphasis on energy production over conservation on public land, according to a new poll.

Researchers for the ninth annual "Conservation in the West" poll from Colorado College surveyed 400 registered voters in eight western states, including Nevada. They found that 64 percent of Nevadans want Congress to focus on protecting air, water and land – compared with 25 percent who said more drilling and mining should be a higher priority.

Andy Maggi, executive director with the Nevada Conservation League, says the poll indicates clean energy is the way to go.

"Nevadans are done with fossil fuels,” says Maggi. “We have one of the best renewable resources in the country with our sun; we have geothermal resources, wind resources. Most of the West, we want to move to a clean energy future. It's a good sign."

About two-thirds of Nevadans polled said they consider themselves conservationists and outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Fifty-seven percent said access to the great outdoors is a significant reason why they live here. And 81 percent believe the outdoor recreation economy is important to Nevada's future.

Pollster Dave Metz – principal and president at Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates – says the results show Westerners overwhelmingly want Congress to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund. And many said they'd be willing to pay more to improve management of local public lands.

"Across the board in every single state,” says Metz, “we had not just majorities, but roughly three-in-five or more telling us that they would be willing to tax themselves more to raise dollars to address these concerns at a local level."

The poll also found that 70 percent of Nevadans think the problem of wildfires in the West has gotten worse in the past decade. The poll results are online on the Colorado College website.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV