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Public wants feds to act on flaring, poll finds

A majority of voters in states home to some of the biggest oil and gas drilling fields want the government to regulate the burning or releasing of natural gas from wells, according to a new poll.

The survey, sponsored by the Western Values Project, found that 70 percent of likely voters in Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Utah "support" a rule that would require oil companies to significantly cut the amount of natural gas they burn or vent as a byproduct of crude oil production.

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The process of venting or burning the natural gas is also known as flaring, which the administration is currently weighing action on in the Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency.

“Limiting the wasteful practice of venting and flaring natural gas is one issue where Washington can take action without worrying about the politics,” said Ross Land, director of Western Values Project.

“Voters in both parties understand that we should be using the energy from our public lands, not losing it," Lane added.

The survey also found that 93 percent of voters think its important for companies to pay taxpayers for the resources they extract from public lands.

Western Values questioned 750 likely voters for the poll.