Voters support Arizona's public lands, environmental group's survey says

By Ron Dungan
Published: Monday, August 28, 2023 - 5:19pm

Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River
National Park Service
Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Arizona voters favored creating a national monument near Grand Canyon National Park.

A survey conducted by the Center for Western Priorities recently looked beyond those numbers to learn more about voter support for public lands.

It showed that about 85 percent of voters are concerned about losing those lands, as well as impacts from industry.

A similar number expressed concern over mining companies making profits off of those lands, for example, while taxpayers foot the bill for the cleanup of previous operations.

Center spokesman Aaron Weiss said the poll showed that people are also concerned about the effects of climate change.

"Floods, droughts, wildfires, this record heat that we’ve seen in Arizona. And this poll shows that voters are very aware of that, and they’re very aware that public lands are going to have to play an important part in addressing those problems," Weiss said.

He said the poll also showed overwhelming support for updating the mining law of 1872.

"Eighty five percent of Arizona voters, and that was the highest among the three states we polled, say that it is important to modernize that law and to make companies pay taxpayers a royalty, when they mine on public lands," he said.

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