Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New Poll Shows Protecting Colorado’s Waterways is Good Policy and Good Politics

 New Poll Shows Protecting Colorado’s Waterways is Good Policy and Good Politics 
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Jeanne Bassett, Environment Colorado (303) 573-3871,
Gary Wockner, Clean Water Action, (303) 405-6755,
Jay Campbell, Hart Research Associates, (202) 234-5570

Denver, CO — Coloradans overwhelmingly support an Obama administration proposal to restore protections for Colorado’s rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands, according to a recent poll commissioned by leading environmentalists and sportsmen organizations. Nearly seven in ten (67%) Colorado respondents support the President’s proposal to restore clean water safeguards, with strong support across political affiliations. The poll was released as the U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote on the House Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act ( H.R. 5325) next week. The bill includes a provision to block the President from restoring critical clean water protections. However, the poll’s findings indicate that blocking those protections could be a political dead end for many in Congress.

 Two-thirds of Coloradans (66%) say they would feel more favorable toward their Representative if he or she supported the restoration of clean water protections, including more than 60% of Independents in the state. “Coloradans’ message is clear: we want our water to be clean and safe and we support restoring Clean Water Act protections to achieve this,” said Jay Campbell, Vice President for Hart Research Associates , the firm that conducted the poll. “Their support is extraordinary in both its depth and its breadth. Given the contentiousness we see on nearly every issue, when you have an idea that large majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats all agree on you know you have something that is both good policy and good politics.”

The poll was conducted in urban, suburban, and rural areas in Colorado. Major findings of the poll include: 1. There is extensive support in Colorado for restoring clean water protections. Not only is this support more intense than the opposition, but also it is shared broadly across party lines. 2. Supporting clean water protections can be a winning political issue for both Colorado’s Congressional delegation and the President. 3. Messages in favor of the proposal to restore clean water protections are much stronger than arguments in opposition to the proposal. (The full summary of the poll’s findings can be found here .)

 “From kayaking on the Colorado River to spending time along the South Platte, this poll is further proof that protecting our waterways is enormously popular and important in Colorado,” said Bessie Schwarz, Field Organizer for Environment Colorado. “Unfortunately many of the waterways we love and cherish still are inadequately protected. It’s time for President Obama to stand up for Colorado’s waterways and finalize these critical protections.” “The streams and wetlands at issue here are vital parts of Colorado’s water infrastructure because they filter pollution, prevent floods and affect the drinking water of over three million Coloradans. Clarifying protection for these vulnerable water bodies is an important step forward,” said Gary Wockner, Colorado Program Director, Clean Water Action.

 The findings of this poll echo the immense public support these protections have consistently enjoyed across the state, from thousands of concerned citizens, and dozens of family farmers, local elected officials, recreational businesses, and many more. The poll was commissioned by American Rivers, Clean Water Action, Clean Water Network, Earthjustice, Environment Colorado, the Izaak Walton League of America, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Waterkeeper Alliance.

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