US voters deciding on billions for conservation
10/30/14 By JASON DEAREN – AP
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Voters across the nation are deciding whether to set aside billions of dollars for parks and preservation in what some environmentalists are calling one of the most significant elections for land conservation in American history.
Pollsters say it’s one of the few places on Tuesday’s ballots where voters of all kinds can find common ground.
The most money at stake is in Florida, California and New Jersey.
“These are highly developed and dense states, and they are watching the good natural places disappear,” said Will Rogers, president and CEO of the Trust for Public Land, which tracks and raises money for the ballot measures. “People know if they don’t step up and protect it, it will be gone.”
Nationwide, it adds up to more than $15.7 billion overall in taxes and bonds for land and water conservation, the most in a quarter-century of elections, according to the trust’s data, which was independently verified by The Associated Press.
Other states with significant conservation funding on their ballots include Utah, New Mexico, North Dakota and Oregon. There are local measures, too: voters in Larimer County, Colorado could renew a sales tax to generate $131 million over 25 years for open spaces.
“One of the things we see in this hyper-partisan age is that support for these measures can extend across party lines,” said Lori Weigel, a pollster in Denver, Colorado, who has been tracking voter preferences on this year’s measures. “There’s something appealing about conserving these natural areas, whether that’s for sportsmen like hunters or environmentalists.”
Polling Place Locator http://pollingplaces.democrats.org