“Energy Dominance” Policy on our Public Lands, Not Popular in the West

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The 2018 Colorado College Conservation in the West Poll was just released last month, finding that the Trump Administration’s energy and public lands policies are unpopular in the West.  It also reconfirmed what HECHO already knows – that Latinos across the West support conservation of our natural resources. In fact, 75% of Latino voters identify as conservationists today, up from 57% in 2016.  And when it comes to national priorities for public lands, Latino voters (75%) strongly prefer that the Administration focus on protecting clean water, air quality, and wildlife habitat. 

Overall, 16% of voters in the survey identify as Latino, and 95% of these voters live in either New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada.  Below are some highlights from this year’s poll - conducted also in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming - that we thought you’d be interested in!

Latino Voters in the West:  

·       71% of Latino voters in the West identify as outdoor recreationists; compared to 74% of all Western voters.

·       88% of Latino voters report taking part in outdoor recreation activities regularly, including hiking (60%), camping (53%), wildlife viewing (28%) and boating (18%). 

·       83% of Latino voters say they have visited national public lands in the last year, compared to 86% of all Western voters.

·       Only 18% of Latino voters would prefer the Administration place more of an emphasis on producing domestic energy. They prefer responsible drilling and mining on national public lands.

·       Fully 82% of Latino voters say when it come to attracting well-paying jobs and innovative companies, the presence of public lands, coupled with opportunities for outdoor recreation, gives the West a distinct advantage over other parts of the country.

·       Similarly, 70% of Latino voters say that outdoor recreation opportunity is very important to the economic future of their state, and 91% say it is at least somewhat important.   

·       A majority of Latino voters in the West opposed many actions the Trump administration has taken or is considering. Allowing mining on public lands abutting Grand Canyon National Park draws the sharpest response from Latinos, with 82% in opposition. 

·       Latino voters in the West are strongly opposed to both expanding the amount of public land that is available to private companies for mining (76% oppose) as well as expanding public land that would be available to private companies for drilling (69% oppose).

·       86% of Latino voters say that reducing the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments is a bad idea – 20 points higher than Westerners overall. Only 11% of Latinos say it is a good idea to reduce the size and protections on these public lands.

·       Just 21% of Latino voters in the West approve of the job the Administration is doing in handling issues related to land, water and wildlife; compared to 68% who disapprove.

All Western Voters on National Parks: 

·       Strong opposition to raising national park entrance fees, with only 37% in support. 

All Western Voters on Methane:

·       75% want to require oil and gas producers who operate on public lands to prevent methane leaks and reduce the need to vent natural gas. 

All Western Voters on Monuments:

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·       66% view the recent Trump administration’s decision to remove existing protections and reduce the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah by more than 2 million acres as a bad idea.

·       In Nevada, 70 percent believe it is a bad idea for the administration to scale back or eliminate protections for Gold Butte National Monument.

·       In New Mexico, 68 percent believe it is a bad idea for the administration to scale back or eliminate protections for Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments.

·       82 percent believe national monuments help the economy of nearby communities.

·       Just 9 percent believe national monuments tie up too much land that could be put to other use. 

All Western Voters on Protecting Public Lands as Economic Drivers

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·       93% believe the outdoor recreation economy is very important for the economic future of Western states.

·       81 percent believe the presence of public lands is an advantage in attracting good jobs and innovative companies.