It’s Tuesday, February 21, and Western voters want clean energy and conservation.

Zoya Teirstein here, filling in for Joseph Winters.

A new poll, released last week, shows that two-thirds of voters in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming want their region to transition to 100 percent clean energy within the next decade and a half. And nearly 70 percent of voters would rather see public lands conserved than given over to fossil fuel development.

The poll was the latest installment of an annual survey of top priorities for registered voters in the Mountain West, which Colorado College has conducted for more than a decade.

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The survey revealed broadly positive attitudes toward renewable energy deployment and water conservation — issues Congress invested hundreds of billions of dollars in last year. A majority of voters expressed support for conserving 30 percent of the U.S.’s land and water by 2030, banning grass lawns on new housing developments, temporarily paying farmers not to plant their fields in order to conserve water, and a host of other climate and conservation measures.

A majority also said they were concerned about loss of wildlife habitat, the environmental impacts of oil and gas drilling, and declining water levels in rivers. The Western U.S. is entering the third decade of a megadrought fueled by climate change, which means water is top of mind for many people who live in states where the resource has become increasingly scarce.

“This year voters in the West have a lot on their minds, but they are not willing to trade one priority for another,” Katrina Miller-Stevens, an associate professor at Colorado College who directs the survey, said.

The poll illuminates slow but steady progress on the way Western voters view the issue of climate change more generally. In 2011, between 7.5 and 11.5 percent of voters in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming — the only states surveyed by Colorado College at the time — considered climate change to be an “extremely serious” problem. Now, between 18 and 30 percent of voters in those states hold that view.

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