Daily Drakesurvey

survey…elected officials need to get with the program. Colorado College’s recently released 2013 Western States Survey packs some compelling results, showing massive discrepancies between voter and politician views on natural resources and public lands—and the roles they play in our economy and quality of life. The poll grills 2,400 voters in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming on energy, conservation, and the role of government in both.

Of note: When asked if loss of fish and wildlife habitat is problematic in their state, 72 percent said it was a “serious” problem. More than three-quarters of those polled are troubled by pollution in rivers, lakes, and streams. Nearly 80 percent agreed that “cuts to funding for state parks” and “protection of our natural areas and water quality” were critical issues. And two-thirds of those polled oppose selling public lands to pay down the federal budget deficit.

Via High Country News: “Of the most critical points on the minds of Westerners is our nation’s dependence on foreign oil—89 percent consider it a “serious” problem. And, for the second year running, public opinion supports renewables over extractive resources (including oil, coal and natural gas). In Arizona and New Mexico, a high percentage of polled voters want to encourage solar development; in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, wind energy was most popular and, in Utah, wind power and natural gas were nearly even.

“If Westerners regard our natural resources in these ways, why are our elected officials counteracting those views by, for example, demanding the sale of public lands (as is the case in New Mexico and Utah) and supporting extractive practices in sensitive places (like the Alton Coal mine expansion near Bryce Canyon National Park, and proposed drilling next to Dinosaur National Monument and Mesa Verde)?”

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Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.

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