New polling shows Westerners strongly opposed to anti-public lands legislation and executive action

Polling in five House districts shows Representatives at risk for supporting anti-public lands legislation, part of broader ad campaign

Western Values Project Action is launching the PUBLIC (Protecting the USA’s Beautiful Lands in Congress) Lands Campaign, first by releasing new in-district polling highlighting Western voters’ strong opposition to legislation that threatens public lands and recent executive action reducing protected public lands in national monuments across the West. The PUBLIC Lands Campaign will hold representatives from Western states accountable for their votes on public lands legislation.

The final polling results can be found here for Rep. Walden (OR-2), here for Rep. Herrera Beutler (WA-3), here for Rep. Gianforte (MT), here for Rep. Pearce (NM-2), and here for Rep. Tipton (CO-3). The polls reveal a strong disconnect on public lands between these representatives and their constituents.

The new polling is part of a broader multi-platform ad campaign, with a series of new print, digital, and billboard advertisements telling these five Members of Congress to protect public lands and national monuments. The ads ask Reps. Walden, Herrera Beutler, Gianforte, Pearce, and Tipton to definitively clarify their position on public land protections and key anti-public lands legislation that is making its way through Congress.

“While talking out of both sides of your mouth may work in Washington, D.C., people all across the West expect straight answers, especially on something as integral to our way of life as our public lands,” said Chris Saeger, executive director of the Western Values Project Action. “These Members of Congress will be key votes on legislation that could have devastating impacts on public lands in their home states and across the West. Instead of wiggling their way out of answering repeated requests to clarify their position on public lands, they should face their constituents and tell them directly.”

Tipton: And constituents oppose Trump’s recent orders to cut roughly two million acres from these monuments and remove protections against development, mining, and drilling by a 19-point margin (39% support/58% oppose, including 52% who are strongly opposed).

Gianforte: A clear majority (39% support/61% oppose) oppose laws that would reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments and give presidents greater power to lift protections for public lands, including 46% who strongly oppose this legislation.

Pearce: Constituents oppose proposed legislation that would reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments and give presidents the power to remove protections for public lands with the stroke of a pen by a nearly two-to-one margin (33% support/63% oppose).

Walden: By an 18-point margin, constituents oppose Trump’s recent orders to cut roughly two million acres from two national monuments in Utah (38% support/56% oppose, including 50% who are strongly opposed). Opposition to the executive orders is even higher now in the district than it was in a similar poll conducted in December (46% support/49% oppose).

Herrera Beutler: By a nearly two-to-one margin (32% support/62% oppose), constituents oppose Trump’s executive orders to cut roughly two million acres from two Utah monuments. Further, over half of voters (52%) are “strongly” opposed, and opposition to the executive orders has increased by double digits since a similar poll conducted in December (40% support/51% oppose).

The print, digital, and billboard advertisements and new polling follow television and radio ads and polling last month targeting Reps. Walden, Herrera Beutler, and McSally on their silence regarding President Trump’s decision to unlawfully gut two million acres of protected public lands in Utah. Secretary Zinke is currently reviewing nearly two dozen other national monument designations in the West.

The latest ads ask that if the representative “truly supports public lands,” then they need to come out against H.R. 4532 and H.R. 3990 – “two bills among many in Congress that would end protections of our national treasures.” H.R. 4532 would codify Trump’s reduction of Bears Ears National Monument and H.R. 3990 would eviscerate the Antiquities Act by allowing current and future Presidents to eliminate protections on public lands that were designated national monuments without congressional approval. View the ads here: Tipton, Walden, Herrera Beutler, Gianforte, and Pearce.

The ads will run in the Representatives’ district and prompt constituents to call their office seeking clarification on their positions.

“Given the strong opposition in these representatives’ districts to any legislation that undermines public land protections, one can only assume that unless the Members vote against these anti-public lands bills, they are indeed listening to the special interests who want nothing more than to exploit our public lands for their own gain,” said Saeger.

Also published on Medium.

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