Colorado College’s annual State of the Rockies poll on attitudes towards land conservation in the West, released today, shows strong support among western states for public lands and the environment.
Among the findings from the poll:
- 91% agree that public lands like national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife areas are an
- essential part of their state’s economy
- 79% of respondents believe that public lands are important for their quality of life and support their economy.
- 71% of respondents believe that selling off public lands to corporations for development will hurt their economy and quality of life.
- 56% of respondents believe that environmentally sensitive public lands should be permanently protected from oil and gas drilling
- 50% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats would be more willing to support a candidate of their own party who supports public land protection.
In an ideal world, these findings would turn the public lands debate on Capitol Hill upon its head. Republicans and Democrats would see this poll and immediately work to protect our lands because that’s what their constituents want.
Instead, we are coming off the only Congress since 1966 to not pass a single acre of new wilderness protection. Furthermore, a study was recently done that showed that the Obama administration has leased 2.5 times more acres for oil and gas development than they have set aside for conservation. It is time work together to balance conservation and energy development on our public lands for the sake of our economy and quality of life.