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Green Issues Motivate Voters, Author and Blogger Say

Sara Leseberg Ralston
Environmental issues are attracting more interest in politics near and far, some say. Utah's Democratic voters supported Bernie Sanders -- who advocates a ban on fracking -- in the caucuses.

Green issues are capturing more attention in politics these days. It’s true in community elections and in the national vote, according to the author of a new book on energy politics. And the creator of a new political action committee in Utah agrees.

Consumer advocate Wenonah Hauter, author of “Frackopoly: The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment," describes an energy industry entrenched in national and state politics. Americans everywhere have started pushing back, she says. One way that’s playing out: Hauter’s backing a drive to persuade Democrats to rewrite the national party platform to get rid of an “all-of-the-above” energy policy.

“It’s past time for the Democratic Party to heed the calls of this growing movement to ban fracking and to keep fossil fuels in the ground,” she said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.

But, in Utah, green politics has a different focus than fracking bans and climate change. Instead, a recent analysis by the non-partisan Utah Foundation showed air quality and the environment as leading concerns for Democrats. And Republican delegates included air, water, energy and public lands on their top-ten lists.

Blogger Alan Nauman agrees Utah voters do care about the environment. He’s started a political action committee to advance their agenda. The PAC’s called Green Votes for Utah.

“If politicians don’t grab green issues, I sure hope their opponents do,” he says, “because somebody has got to gather this momentum. And that’s what we’re hoping to support.”

Nauman said the mission is not just raising money for green-minded campaigns. It’s also to teach voters and candidates about environmental issues.

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