While this winter’s storms have helped ease drought conditions in the West, many are still concerned about water usage and protecting the region’s public lands from harmful drilling. A recent poll reveals voters from eight states want to see more renewable energy and think that Congress should focus on clean air, water and protecting wildlife. LA Times environmental reporter Sammy Roth joined Lisa McRee on “LA Times Today” with more.
The Conservation in the West poll is conducted by Colorado College each year. The poll uses Democratic and Republican pollsters to track voters’ thoughts on climate issues in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming. Roth explained the findings.
“Across these eight Western states, they found that two-thirds of voters say they want to see 100% renewable energy in their states, and they want that within ten or 15 years, which is pretty quick. Two-thirds [of voters] support having Congress prioritize conservation and wildlife habitat over more fossil fuel drilling on public lands. They found really high levels of concern for damage from oil and gas drilling to the public lands and wildlife. More than 70% of people say climate change is a problem. Ninety-two percent say that water levels in our rivers are too low,” he said.
Moderate voters made up about 40% of the respondents. Roth explained the significance of such broad support among moderate and conservative voters for climate issues.
“They didn’t just go to the cities and call people. Of the 3,400 people who responded to this poll, the biggest bloc was moderates, and a third of the respondents were conservatives, and only one in five were liberals. You’re not just seeing people in Phoenix and Denver and Las Vegas saying this stuff. It’s people across these rural parts of these Western states. The one state I’ll say where the results were kind of flipped was Wyoming. Wyoming did not have strong support for 100% clean energy or less oil and gas drilling. That was the case everywhere else,” Roth shared.
The poll also revealed broad support for creating more national monuments.
“It’s constantly a source of rhetoric for conservatives in Congress. And yet in this poll, 85% of voters in these states said they want to see presidents continue to designate national monuments. It’s kind of remarkable to see those figures,” Roth said.
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Watch the full interview above.
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