Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Conservation Action Has Consistent Widespread Support, New Analysis Finds
Press Release

RELEASE: Conservation Action Has Consistent Widespread Support, New Analysis Finds

Washington, D.C. — Using executive authority to protect nature could drive substantial positive public opinion and media coverage for the Biden administration, according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress, the Center for Western Priorities, and FM3 Research.

The analysis find that executive conservation action is wildly popular, cuts through the public’s distrust of Washington, is accessible to broad and bipartisan audiences, and garners incredibly positive media coverage. The data also suggest that the public would welcome further action by President Joe Biden to use his executive power to conserve public lands and waters.

The first study is a public opinion analysis by FM3 Research that found that executive action to conserve public lands is consistently and overwhelmingly popular and that specific conservation actions taken by President Biden—both completed and anticipated—are likewise supported. The analysis reviewed 30 public opinion surveys on public lands issues conducted within the past eight years.

The second study is a media analysis conducted by the Center for American Progress and the Center for Western Priorities that found executive announcements about national monuments, national parks, and large-scale conservation initiatives regularly drive positive media coverage in outlets across the political spectrum. The analysis reviewed print and television media coverage of federal public lands conservation, including approximately 3,100 news and opinion pieces from January 2021 to July 2022.

“In an era of deep partisan division on most key public policy issues, acting to conserve public lands is one of the most unambiguously positive actions a president can take,” said Jenny Rowland-Shea, director for Public Lands at CAP. “Now is the time for President Biden to build on his conservation legacy and take bold action to conserve our lands, waters, and wildlife.”

Specific proposals include actions already taken by the Biden administration, such as restoring protections for Bears Ears National Monument, as well as potential future actions, such as the proposed Avi Kwa Ame national monument.

“These studies make it clear that President Biden shouldn’t wait to start building his conservation legacy,” said Jennifer Rokala, executive director of the Center for Western Priorities. “He can start by designating proposed national monuments such as Camp Hale-Continental Divide, Castner Range, and Avi Kwa Ame, all of which have strong local support. Bold action to conserve our lands, waters, and wildlife is not only necessary to combat accelerating biodiversity loss and climate change, it is also popular with voters across the political spectrum.”

Some key findings of the analysis include:

  • About 76 percent of Americans support the concept of increasing conservation on federal public lands.
  • About 76 percent of Americans support specific proposals to designate or expand federally protected lands.
  • Positive media coverage of federal public lands conservation overwhelmingly outweighs negative coverage by a ratio of 5-to-1.

Read the column: “Conservation Action Can Win Over the Media and the Public” by Jenny Rowland-Shea and Jennifer Rokala

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected].

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