Westerners Send a Clear Message to Elected Officials: Protect Our Wildlife, Water, Public Lands

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Westerners care passionately about wildlife, clean water, public lands and climate change — and are demanding action, according to the 10th annual Conservation in the West poll released by Colorado College today. The poll also shows significant concern about the environmental policy decisions of the Trump administration.

“As this poll affirms, conservation is a broadly shared Western value. A majority of Westerners self-identify as conservationists who want to make sure our wildlife, water and public lands are responsibly stewarded and safeguarded for future generations,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Nearly three-quarters of respondents said that environmental issues were an important factor as they consider which political candidates to support. Politicians from both parties should take note: Westerners expect their elected leaders to make our public lands, water and wildlife a top priority.”

The poll found broad support for a host of issues including doing more to mitigate the effects of climate change, putting limits on oil and gas development and mining on public lands and encouraging more initiatives to protect wildlife habitat.

“This poll sends a resounding signal that Westerners are outraged by the administration’s energy dominance agenda that puts oil and gas ahead of all other interests on our public lands,” said Robert Gaudet, president of the Nevada Wildlife Federation. “Sixty-four percent said it was wrong for the administration to allow more drilling on land that was set aside to protect the imperiled sage grouse, and 63 percent said the impact of oil and gas drilling on our land, air and water was a serious problem. It’s time to restore balance and commonsense to the management of our public lands.”

“Idahoans are demanding that our leaders bring back our salmon and steelhead, restore our rivers and find solutions that deliver for all communities. With 84 percent of Idahoans saying they want to see improvements in Idaho rivers to encourage abundant salmon populations, it’s incumbent on our leaders to find common ground before it’s too late,” said Brian Brooks, executive director of the Idaho Wildlife Federation. “Wildlife and our public lands and waters are an important part of our Western identity. We cannot afford to waste any more time.”

The poll, conducted by New Bridge Strategy, surveyed voters in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Here are some key findings:

80% said protecting public lands, water, air and wildlife is an important issue when deciding whether to support a public official
55% said the loss of pollinators, such as native bees and butterflies, is a very serious problem
54% said pollution of rivers, lakes and streams is very serious
52% said the rollbacks of laws that protect our land, water and wildlife is a very serious problem
70% say that private companies should not profit from our public lands if doing so would limit the public’s enjoyment of these lands



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