10 Conservation Takeaways from the 2020 Western States Survey

Each year, Colorado College surveys voters in 8 western states (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming) about conservation-related issues. The tenth annual poll showed that “voters in the Mountain West are calling for an aggressive agenda to protect more public lands in the face of threats from climate change impacts and energy development.” Here are the ten biggest conservation takeaways for Idaho.

One: 83% of Idahoans say that issues involving clean water, clean air, wildlife and public lands are important in deciding whether or not to support an elected official.

Here at Conservation Voters for Idaho, we know you care about electing candidates to office who will champion the issues you care about – protecting Idaho’s water, air and natural places

Each year, we provide independent, nonpartisan information as to which candidates running for municipal and state offices are going to go to bat for conservation issues. Check back in April for our 2020 election cycle candidate endorsements. In the meantime, check out CVI’s recent oped in the Idaho Press on the legislature’s shortsightedness when it comes to protecting public lands.

Two: 59% of Idahoans support requiring Idaho to gradually transition to one hundred percent clean energy by 2050.

The majority of Idahoans support our state’s transition to clean energy, and last year, several cities, counties, and utilities stepped up to the plate. The City of Boise, Avista Utilities, Idaho Power, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and Ada County all made clean energy commitments that beat this 2050 timeline. Of course, more work can be done. Sign our Clean Energy for All petition to urge other counties and cities to transition to 100% clean energy!

Three: 83% of Idahoans say that poorly planned growth and development is a serious problem.

In 2019, CVI endorsed candidates from across the state who were strong on protecting open space. With your help, an impressive eleven pro-conservation candidates were elected across Idaho!

Four: 63% of Idahoans support providing full dedicated funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The LWCF is a federal program that has funded hundreds of parks and conservation projects in every single county in Idaho. The funding comes from oil and gas leases – not taxpayer money. Although Congress has permanently reauthorized LWCF, we still need to gain permanent funding. Add your name to CVI’s letter in support here!

Five: 75% of Idahoans say that loss of habitat for fish and wildlife is a serious problem and 77% of Idahoans say that loss of natural areas is a serious problem.

CVI’s work here takes many forms, including protecting the processes that safeguard public lands like the National Environmental Policy Act, encouraging collaborative decision making on public lands, and seeking solutions that help preserve working landscapes and open space. 

Six: 70% of Idahoans support a national goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans by 2030.

Like you, we’re committed to protecting a portion of Idaho’s incredibly outdoor heritage for future generations. Conservation in Idaho isn’t always easy, but protecting special wild places like the Scotchman Peaks, Boulder-White Clouds, and Boise Foothills for future generations is worth it.

Seven: 76% of Idahoans say that rollbacks of laws that protect our land, water, and wildlife are a serious problem.

Idahoans opposed federal rollbacks as well. 69% opposed removing Clean Water Act protections from smaller streams and seasonal wetlands while 64% opposed reducing the protections for threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Eight: 72% of Idahoans thought it was important for our Governor to have a plan to reduce the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change.

In 2019, Idaho had our first hearing on climate change. Additionally, 69% of Idahoans thought it was important for our members of Congress to have a plan. Now it’s time for elected officials to act.

Nine: 80% of Idahoans say that pollution of rivers, lakes, and streams are a serious problem.

CVI’s partner Idaho Businesses for the Outdoors took a deep dive (literally!) into water quality last summer as they worked with a professional swimmer who swam the entirety of the Boise River.

Ten: 70% of Idahoans consider themselves to be conservationists.

If you consider yourself a conservationist, join the fight by supporting our work with a donation and signing up for updates to stay informed.