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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Poll: Voters in NM, other Western states consistently support conservation

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Thursday, February 15, 2024   

A new poll showed New Mexico voters expressed a deep affection for lands, water and wildlife and want policies offering greater protections.

The 14th annual Colorado College "State of the Rockies" survey of 3,400 voters in eight Western states found increasing support for conservation even as political affiliation fades.

Dave Metz, principal and president of the polling firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates, said they are in favor of requiring oil and gas companies to pay for clean up and restoration on lands where they have drilled and favor limiting where the companies are allowed to drill.

"This year we saw the widest margin in favor of conservation that we have seen in this poll," Metz reported. "For the first time seven in 10 voters told us they would prioritize protecting sources of clean water, air quality and wildlife habitat over producing more domestic energy."

Majorities of New Mexico voters cited loss of habitats and declining fish and wildlife populations, uncontrollable wildfires, and inadequate and polluted water supplies including microplastics as extremely or very serious problems. By a four-to-one margin, they also said they want more emphasis on conserving wildlife migration routes rather than new development, ranching and oil and gas production.

Among respondents, 91% said they regularly participate in outdoor activities on national public lands.

Lori Weigel, principal of the research firm New Bridge Strategy, said many poll respondents expressed concern about children's mental health problems continuing to worsen if they are unable to access public lands where they can spend time outdoors.

"We asked them to tell us, 'Did they think that spending more time in the outdoors and nature; how much would that help?'" Weigel explained. "Virtually everyone said they thought it would help at least somewhat, and we outright had two-thirds telling us, 'Yeah, that would help a lot.'"

Among New Mexico voters, 69% said they think the effects of climate change on the Land of Enchantment over the past 10 years have been significant. Younger, "Gen Z" voters, born between 1996 and 2010 expressed far more concern about the issue than the older "Baby Boom" generation.


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