FILE - Grand Canyon National Park Tourism Spending

In this Jan. 1, 2019 file photo, tourists look at and take photos of a snow-covered Grand Canyon, in Arizona. A new report from the National Park Service says areas surrounding the Grand Canyon benefited last year from millions of tourism dollars. Grand Canyon National Park officials say the report found the 6.3 million people who visited in 2018 spent $947 million in communities near the park.

Arizona voters are concerned with water issues in the state and a large majority opposes new uranium mining in public land surrounding the Grand Canyon, according to new polling.

The State of the Rockies Project at Colorado College on Thursday released its “Conservation in the West” poll that details voter opinions in eight western states including Arizona. 

The poll, which surveyed 400 Arizona voters in January, found that 77 percent of respondents oppose “allowing new uranium mining claims on existing public lands next to the Grand Canyon National Park,” while 19 percent support allowing new uranium mining.

Climate change, pollution, and water issues were the top concerns for Arizonans, the poll found.

According to the poll, 72 percent of Arizona respondents consider themselves conservationists, and 80 percent said “issues involving clean water, clean air, wildlife and public lands are important in deciding whether or not to support an elected official.”

Sixty-six percent of Arizona respondents said “Inadequate water supplies” is a “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem while 25 percent said it was a “somewhat serious” problem. 

On the issue of “low level of water in rivers,” 62 percent said it was a “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem and 21 percent said it was “somewhat serious.” Pollution of waterways was also of concern to Arizona respondents, with 50 percent saying “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem.

Despite their opinions of water issues, 38 percent view oil and gas drilling as “not a problem” for the environment while 34 percent believed it’s  a “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem. On climate change, 51 percent said it’s a “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem.

“Support for conservation on public lands has remained consistent and strong over the decade-long history of our poll,” political science professor Corina McKendry, the project’s director, said in a statement. “The urgency and demand for action behind those feelings is now intensifying as voters in the West increasingly believe their lands and lifestyles are coming under attack from the impacts of climate change and energy development.”

The project also polled voters in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The poll surveyed voters in those states in January and has 4.9 percent statewide margin of error rate.

The poll was conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, a Democratic firm, and New Bridge Strategy, “an opinion research company with roots in Republican politics,” the project said.

Regional Editor

Derek Draplin is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as an opinion producer at Forbes, as an editor at The Daily Caller, and as a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Detroit News.