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Sportsmen support federal water rule

Critics say poll asked misleading questions
An angler makes his way down the Animas River near Dallabeta Park in search of rainbow trout. A new poll shows support from hunters and anglers for a federal rule that expands oversight of water.

A poll released Wednesday shows broad support from sportsmen for a federal rule that allows regulators to expand oversight of water.

The bipartisan poll – conducted by two separate pollsters – highlights support across political lines, despite partisan gridlock in Congress. Critics of the survey, however, believe the poll left out key questions.

The Environmental Protection Agency finalized its rule-making back in May, despite efforts by Republicans to block implementation. Those efforts continue, some with limited bipartisan support.

The Clean Water Rule will take effect Aug. 28. It clarifies regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act to protect streams and wetlands.

In Colorado, 66 percent of sportsmen support applying the Clean Water Act to smaller streams and wetlands, with 43 percent indicating strong support, according to the survey. About 31 percent indicate opposition. Across all the four states surveyed, 83 percent of hunters and anglers thought the EPA should apply the Clean Water Act to smaller, headwater streams and wetlands.

The poll was conducted by right-leaning Public Opinion Strategies and left-leaning Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

“This is incredibly broad,” said Al Quinlan, president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. “It’s as broad of support as I see for any issue in the electorate today.”

The survey was completed after interviews with 1,000 registered voters who identify as hunters and anglers. Pollsters completed 260 interviews with voters in Colorado.

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, who has strongly opposed implementation of the rule, suggested that the poll should have included questions pointing to local environmental protections.

“This sin of omission is misleading, and skews the survey to the desired outcome of those asking the questions,” Tipton spokesman Josh Green said. “To imply that there is wide support for the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule – with this survey as the evidence – is deeply misleading and insulting.”

pmarcus@durangoherald.com

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