Keystone XL Opponents Are Right: Public Overwhelmingly Supports Keystone XL

Perhaps for the first time, Oil Sands Fact Check may actually agree with opponents of Keystone XL. Bill Burton of the League of Conservation Voters acknowledged this fact: Despite his group’s best efforts to stir up opposition, the American public overwhelmingly supports the Keystone XL project.

In fact, a national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 13-17 among 1,501 adults, finds, “Support for the pipeline spans most demographic and partisan groups. Substantial majorities of Republicans (82%) and independents (70%) favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, as do 54% of Democrats.”

Public support for Keystone XL is reflected in editorials all across the country.  As the Globe and Mail notes: “A search of newspaper editorials from Virginia to North Dakota to California turned up 22 pro-Keystone pieces since the start of the year compared to three anti-Keystone views, which were published in The New York Times, Baltimore Sun and Sacramento Bee. Some of the papers that adopted stances in favour of the pipeline come from oil country – Texas, for instance – but they also pop up in less expected places like New Jersey and Michigan.”

These editorials and positive poll numbers reveal a harsh reality for Keystone XL’s opponents.  As POLITICO reported:

Here’s the truth that environmentalists are warming to: Despite the rallies and all-out campaign, Keystone XL pipeline opponents haven’t won over the public. A number of recent polls show growing support for the pipeline that would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast, despite the national efforts of the environmental community.

However, Keystone opponents’ contention that Obama’s decision won’t be influenced by poll results and public opinion could backfire, since it could call into question whether greens’ efforts to sway the policy were worthwhile. And that could be a hard pill to swallow on the heels of recent events such as the President’s Day rally against the Keystone pipeline that brought thousands to the National Mall, and the Sierra Club campaign to highlight 100 days of action to fight climate change and the Keystone XL pipeline.

Just how overwhelming is the public support in favor of the Keystone XL?

  • Spotlight on Oklahoma: The Tulsa World recently reported, “A rally Tuesday at the Pipeliners Local 798 training center in Tulsa drew several hundred welders, fitters and others…Speakers called the pipeline an economic engine because of the thousands of workers needed to build it and a national security necessity because it allows the U.S. to import Canadian rather than OPEC oil.”
  • Spotlight on Iowa: As Radio Iowa reports in their April 4 story, Union groups rally for Keystone XL Pipeline, “Rick Tervin – the executive vice president of the United Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and HVAC Service Techs — spoke to the crowd. ‘What we don’t want is our good friends in Canada shipping this oil to China or another Mideastern country. That’s not good for us,’ Tervin said. ‘…To make matters worse, what I see happening if that happens is it will most likely be sold back here to us at an even higher cost. If that’s not an insult, I don’t know what is.’”
  • Union Support: As the House Energy and Commerce Committee noted, “Union backers also voiced their support for the project on Capitol Hill this week. Testifying on behalf of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, David Mallino appeared before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power Wednesday at a hearing on H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, legislation authored by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) that will allow construction of the pipeline to finally commence. Mallino told the panel, “For many members of the Laborers, this project is not just a pipeline; it is in fact, a life line. The construction sector has been particularly hit hard by the economic recession. The unemployment rate in the construction industry reached over 27% in 2010, and joblessness in construction remains far higher than any industry or sector, with over 1 million construction workers currently unemployed in the United States. Too many hard-working Americans are out of work, and the Keystone XL Pipeline will change that dire situation for thousands of them.”
  • Bipartisan Support in Congress: Support for Keystone XL pipeline is so overwhelming now that even Congress can agree that it should be built. The United States Senate recently passed a bipartisan amendment in support of the Keystone XL project by a vote of 62-47. Following the vote support of the pipeline, authors of the amendment issued a press release with statement from cosponsors of the amendment all focused on jobs, jobs, jobs.

Support from Republicans, Democrats, Independents, small businesses and many others clearly shows that, after an exhaustive four year process, the American public wants the economic and national security benefits Keystone XL will provide.