Survey says: Most Americans back Keystone XL


A majority of Americans want the U.S. government to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, according to a Gallup poll released today.

According to the nationwide survey, 57 percent of Americans believe the government should permit construction of the pipeline, which would transport oil sands crude from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.

While support is strongest among Republicans — with roughly eight in 10 supporting the project — 44 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents also said they wanted to see the pipeline built.

The survey results were delivered as President Barack Obama heads to a pipe yard in Cushing, Okla., where he is set to push for speedy permitting and construction of Keystone XL’s roughly 500-mile southern leg. Administration officials said that segment, which would run from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, is essential to relieving a major bottleneck of oil, now landlocked in the Midwest.

Obama also is issuing an executive order that would fast-track federal agency approvals for the southern portion of the pipeline. But his move will not affect TransCanada Corp.’s currently stalled plans to build other segments of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline over the U.S.-Canada border.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration rejected a cross-border permit for that northern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying it needed more study, including an environmental analysis of the proposed route through ecologically sensitive areas of Nebraska.

Republicans and oil industry leaders insist that the White House was playing politics — and trying to appease environmentalists — with the move. The same Keystone XL backers recently have seized on rising gasoline prices to paint Obama’s energy policies as out of touch.

Critics today said that Obama was unfairly trying to claim credit for speeding up work on a pipeline stretch that wasn’t under his control — while still standing in the way of the northern segment.

“We are encouraged to see the president speed up approval of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said American Petroleum Institute Executive Vice President Marty Durbin. “We now hope he will speed up the approval of the entire pipeline.”

With worries about the rising cost of oil and gasoline threatening to spill into the November elections, the White House appears to be softening its stance. Obama’s visit to Oklahoma today is just one stop on a two-day tour to tout his energy policies. On Wednesday night, he swung by oil and gas production fields in New Mexico, where more than 70 rigs are actively drilling.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said Obama was “trying to associate himself with oil and gas development” in order to get reelected and distance himself from rising gasoline prices. The president “is running scared from his anti-fossil fuel agenda,” Inhofe said.

Many Americans — 49 percent according to the Gallup poll– are paying attention to the issue, raising the political stakes.

Jennifer Dlouhy

9 Responses

  1. AnimuX says:

    Too bad all of those pesky citizens of Nebraska, including Republican governor Dave Heineman, are among the Americans who did not back the pipeline in its original plan — because it would potentially threaten an important aquifer (at least important to Nebraska).

    Thank you President Obama for displaying such pragmatic leadership in considering the concerns of Nebraskans, and environmentalists, in addition to improving the energy security of the USA.

  2. BeingHonestRU says:

    “Survey says: Most Americans back Keystone XL”……this is why BO stinks and needs to go.

  3. Peter says:

    ser182, it would be nice to have jobs that didn’t cost us taxpayers nearly $300k each. I don’t feel that having jobs creating a product that will offset a portion, be it tiny, of our trade deficit.
    You are correct that this project won’t make a real dent in gas prices; however, it will certainly give us more oil security. I’d like to have this extra Canadian oil coming here instead of a terminal on the Canadian cost (filling China bound tankers) if Chavez ever cuts us off.
    As far as a potential spill, doesn’t oil naturally seep to the surface, not down?

  4. CAD1936 says:

    As you can see, the industry wants continuations of all those subsidies , lower royalties than those obtained in the open market, and the right to abuse the American environment, the health of the American people, as well as the right to forgo the safety concerns regarding their own employees.

    They should be allowed to build the pipeline with much governmental inspection and oversight. Reasonable people know how they will build it if such requirements are not mandated.

    Just see above what their spokesperson’s concerns are. All monitory, no mention of care for our planet or the welfare of the people. Their little brains have been limited to only “proper” thinking by their corporate masters.

  5. mortimer hotclaw says:

    Most Americans back the Keystone pipeline project because most Americans do NOT believe the propaganda that is spewed forth from the radical enviornmentalists. There is nothingm wrong with the projects; the wrongs is from the radicals that oppose it and obama.

  6. txloanguy says:

    What controversy? Obama’s Agenda says nothing given to oil companies or anything associated with them. No pipeline, no drilling, no exploration. Nothing! He says all of the above, but he means nothing to oil or gas.

  7. ThePrize says:

    In November, a similar majority of Americans will replace President Obama with the Republican nominee.

  8. ser182 says:

    While it will create jobs please understand it will not put a dent in the cost of gas. Thats a myth. The reason they want to build the line to the gulf is to be able to get it to refined and shipped right over seas. Yes we also export oil to other countries.

  9. Signal2Noise says:

    I support it, just not through the original path.