Poll: Majority of Coloradans Value Pristine Forest Land Over Energy Production

Publication: The Colorado Independent

Author: David O. Williams

10/08/2008 - Nearly two-thirds of all Coloradans would prefer to protect pristine national forest land rather than increase oil and gas production in those areas, according to a new poll conducted for the Pew Environment Group.

In a teleconference with reporters Tuesday, the nonprofit public-policy research organization announced the findings of a phone survey conducted Aug. 18-24 by Denver-based RBI Strategy & Research. It comes right before a federal advisory committee is expected to review Colorado’s controversial roadless rule proposal in Utah Thursday.

That blueprint for managing the state’s approximately 4.4 million acres of essentially pristine public land is loaded with loopholes that would allow more than 100 new oil and gas leases, “long-term temporary” roads to service those leases, and increased logging and ski-area expansion, according to critics.

The Pew poll, which surveyed 700 Colorado residents — 250 of them on the state’s Western Slope, which is dominated by national forest land — found that fully 70 percent of respondents felt that the state’s high number of unused oil and gas leases was reason enough not to grant the industry additional ones on largely untrammeled public lands. And 56 percent said drilling in such places wouldn’t lower gas prices anyway.

Read the full article Poll: Majority of Coloradans Value Pristine Forest Land Over Energy Production on the Colorado Independent's Web site.

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