The ninth annual Colorado College “State of the Rockies Project Conservation in the West Poll” released yesterday shows voters in Wyoming continue to support efforts to keep public lands protected and accessible, putting them at odds with the current administration’s “energy dominance” agenda. The poll surveyed the views of voters in Wyoming along with Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah on policies impacting the use and protection of public lands. The role of public lands and the outdoor way of life continued to be of deep importance to Wyoming voters. 77 percent of Wyomingites view themselves as “outdoor recreation enthusiasts” and 76 percent label themselves as “conservationists.” For 70 percent of respondents, the ability to live near, recreate on, and enjoy public lands like national forests, parks, or trails are a factor in why they live in the West. An overwhelming 91 percent believe the outdoor economy is important to the future of the state. Topping the list of recent government actions involving public lands respondents found most concerning were removing national monument protections from lands in the West which contain archaeological and Native American sites, removing Clean Water Act protections from smaller streams and seasonal wetlands, allowing increased oil and gas production on eighty percent of the “critical habitat” identified in 2015 for restoration of the threatened sage grouse, and reducing the amount of time that the public can comment on proposed changes affecting public lands. The poll surveyed at least 400 registered voters in each of eight Western states for a total sample of 3,204 persons.
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