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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Voters strongly value conservation over natgas development

Voters in the Applachian region value conserving natural areas over natural gas development.

That's the take-away from a new poll commissioned by The Nature Conservancy that surveyed voters in seven states - New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia.

The poll finds a remarkable prevalence - and persistence - of collective wisdom and common sense around natgas development

TNC's release says:
A clear majority of voters (68 percent) consider Central Appalachian forests “critical to the local economy” and more than three-quarters of voters in the region consider their forests a “national treasure.”
When offered a choice, a majority (54 percent) of voters prioritize conserving forests, natural areas and wildlife habitat over natural gas development—even if doing so would lead to higher energy costs.
To protect forests, rivers, and streams from the potential negative effects of natural gas development in the Central Appalachians, robust majorities of voters in the region support establishing strong environmental safeguards as a condition on further natural gas development, including:
  • Requiring natural gas developers, before they start drilling, to prepare regional plans for locating their wells and pipelines to reduce impacts on wildlife habitat and water quality (93 percent)
  • Requiring natural gas developers to prevent or fix any negative impacts that drilling, pipelines, and roads may have on forests or water quality (92 percent)
  • Requiring companies that drill for natural gas to follow guidelines based on sound science to guide their decisions about where to put natural gas wells (91 percent)
Voters must translate these strongly-held beliefs into action.  They must hold their elected officials accountable for their stewardship - or lack thereof - of our natural resources. Landscape industrialization and other impacts of development clearly place the industry's social license to operate at risk.

Elected officials and the natgas industry ignore these results at their peril. 

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