West’s voters in poll oppose fracking ban, Club 20 told

Active voters in the energy-producing states of the West like hydraulic fracturing, while environmental concerns barely show up when asked about the issues that matter to them, the president of an industry group told Club 20 on Saturday.

Fifty-eight percent of active voters in those states oppose a ban on hydraulic fracturing, including 38 percent strongly opposed, Tom Wigley, president of the Western Energy Alliance, told the Western Slope advocacy organization during its spring meeting at Two Rivers Convention Center. Meanwhile, 28 percent of respondents supported a ban, and the rest took no position.

The Western Energy Alliance this month polled 1,000 highly active voters in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. The survey was designed to include the region’s most populous cities, Denver and Salt Lake City, as well as rural areas, and it is representative of the political and gender makeup of the region, Wigley said.

Environmental concerns haven’t rated in the top 10 concerns in any recent surveys, while jobs and the economy have rated No. 1 in each survey he’s seen, Wigley said.

“When the economy is promising and growing, people can afford to be green,” Wigley said.

Pitkin County Commissioner Rachel Richards rebuked Wigley, commenting that Club 20 represents the diversity of the modern West, prompting Wigley to apologize for commenting that industry groups are held to a higher standard of truth than their environmental opponents.

The results of the survey, however, reveal a strong sense of unease among voters, who support by a 69 percent to 23 percent margin construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to refineries in Texas, Wigley said.

“People are as angry as I have ever seen them,” Wigley said.


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It’s really hard making green a priority, when the rent is in arrears, Xcel’s man is pulling the plug on your utilities, your child has eaten the last can of spaghetti-O’s from the Food Bank box, and you’re on your last month of unemployment payments.

“When the economy is promising and growing, people can afford to be green,” Wigley said.

Like it or not, This is the truth of the matter. Peoples survival comes first, and jobs mean survival.

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