Children look our over the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve
Children Great Salt Lake Children look our over the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve © Stuart Ruckman


Utah Voters Strongly Support Protecting Air, Water and Lands in New Survey

Voters overwhelmingly want to increase State funding to protect Utah's quality of life

Salt Lake City

Seventy-seven percent of Utahns want to increase state funding to protect water, improve air quality, protect natural lands, and promote clean energy.  And 70 percent of them are also willing to pitch in themselves-as much as $40 per year to protect Utah's quality of life.  These results have just been released from a statewide survey of voters conducted by FM3 Research and sponsored by The Nature Conservancy.

Concerns about air quality and water sources are top of mind, with results showing that 68 percent of Utahns are very concerned about public health problems caused by air pollution, 65 percent are concerned about water supplies and 70 percent are very worried about the lack of snow in Utah's mountains.

"We're seeing that many more Utahns from diverse backgrounds agree on the need to do more today to improve and protect the natural resources we rely on," said Dave Livermore, Utah State Director for The Nature Conservancy. "We cannot allow Utah to be defined in the future by poor air, water challenges and the loss of valuable lands.

People living in the Beehive State are also increasingly concerned about the impacts of Utah's rapid growth on their communities. Fifty five percent say their communities are "growing too fast and we need to plan better for some growth."

At the same time, voters give the Utah State Legislature declining marks for its work protecting the state's natural resources.  In similar polling conducted in 2003, a plurality of Utahns rated the Legislature "excellent" or "good" on its work to protect natural resources in the state. Now a plurality (42 percent) gives the Legislature "only fair" or "poor" marks, with fewer than one-quarter (23%) rating their work on the issue as "excellent" or "good."

"It's time we did more," says Representative Stephen Handy (R-Layton). "Our collective wealth as a state is increasing, and we need to look to the future. Compared to the other western states, Utah is behind when it comes to providing meaningful state funding for waterways and critical lands." 

Representative Handy and Representative Sue Duckworth (D-Magna) have both submitted funding requests, totaling $1,000,000 to the Utah Legislature this session for the LeRay McAllister Critical Land Conservation Fund.  This Fund provides grants to local governments, state agencies and non-profit organizations to conserve or restore Utah's most critical agricultural and wildlife lands.

"These days, it's refreshing to find some common ground," said Chris Robinson, a member of the Summit County Council and CEO of Ensign Ranches. "Clearly this poll shows that better air, clean water and viable natural lands are not partisan issues. We all recognize that we owe it to ourselves and to future generations to safeguard what makes our state so unique."

From Feb. 2 to 11, 2018, FM3 conducted 715 online and live telephone interviews with a representative sample of voters in Utah who participated in the 2016 general election or have registered to vote since then. Phone interviews included landline and cell calls. The margin of sampling error for the study is +/-3.7% at the 95% confidence interval. 

About The Nature Conservancy in Utah: From Salt Lake City to St. George, The Nature Conservancy has been protecting Utah's unique natural resources since 1984. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to the world's toughest challenges, so people and nature can thrive together. Working with partners, we are tackling climate change and conserving land and water at an unprecedented scale. We engage community members to help make a difference in our natural world to maintain our high quality of life.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.