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New Poll: When Voters Know Facts About Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline, Support Plummets


Cross posted from Scaling Green

The following press release is from NextGen Climate Action, “a political advocacy organization founded by clean-energy advocate and philanthropist Tom Steyer to champion policies that will help to address climate change and promote clean energy, preserving American prosperity.” Polling released today by NextGen Climate Action indicates a great degree of skepticism among the American people towards the Keystone XL Canadian tar sands export pipeline.

For instance, the polling finds that although 81% of Americans have heard the relentless disinformation campaign from fossil fuel interests that Keystone will provide “energy from a trusted ally,” when actual facts are presented – that this oil is slated for export; that foreign oil companies are overwhelmingly in charge of how this pipeline is developed and where the oil will be sold; etc. – support drops precipitously.

And, when presented with the information that “[b]usinesses connected to the Chinese government have invested $30 billion…in the tar sands of Canada, which is where the oil for the Keystone XL Pipeline will originate,” 84% of Americans say they are concerned about this fact either “a lot” or “a little,” compared to just 15% who say “not at all.”

  • By a huge 64%-11% margin, voters say that if they found out their Senator had been “successfully lobbied by a foreign-owned oil company,” it would make them less likely to vote to re-elect that Senator.
  • Americans overwhelmingly (by an 80%-17% margin) want TransCanada to commit that their oil will stay in the United States before the U.S. government makes a final decision on whether or not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Americans are not at all pleased to hear that “Canadian officials knew long ago that the US State Department’s report [on Keystone XL] would be favorable. In fact, they are SO displeased that they favor, by a 68%-24% margin, an “investigation into whether the US State Department had inappropriate communications with foreign interests.
  • Also on the State Department report, Americans believe (by a 60%-25% margin) that it should have “taken into account the fact that some Canadian oil executives say they must have the Keystone XL Pipeline in order to justify the cost of extracting oil from the tar sands.
  • Finally, after being told that “[d]uring the first year of its operation, one portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline had 33 separate oil spills,” Americans become less likely to support Keystone XL, by an enormous 58%-9% margin.

Note that these results are not partisan, as Americans of all political persuasions (and from all parts of the country) are largely in sync on these questions. All of which raises the crucial question: who are U.S. political leaders listening to, exactly? Large majorities of U.S. voters or foreign oil interests?  We certainly know who they should be listening to, especially given that Keystone can’t possibly pass the President’s – or anyone else’s – climate test.

New Poll: Overwhelming Majority of Voters Want Congress to Know Where Keystone XL Oil Will End Up

Over 80% of Voters in Key Battleground States Like Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina Want Congress to Know Where Oil Is Going

SAN FRANCISCO – New polling by SurveyUSA finds 85% of registered voters want Congress to make sure it knows where oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline will end up. The new poll, which includes feedback from over 5,000 registered voters, finds little difference among respondents of different parties and among the nine states polled.

Almost 80% want officials from TransCanada, the company proposing the pipeline, to testify under oath about where the oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline will ultimately be sold. Over 70% of respondents have heard of the pipeline. Of those, over 80% have heard the company’s assertions that Keystone is “energy from a trusted ally,” but 30% fewer think most of the oil will stay in the country.

The survey also found that the strong majority of voters:

• Expressed concern when told of the $30 billion investment by Chinese government-backed companies in Canadian tar sands;

• Were suspicious of oil industry lobbyists and their sway over Senators; and,

• Want an investigation into potential leaks to Canadian government officials when told of news accounts that officials in Ottawa had been told they would get a favorable ruling in the State Department’s recent Environmental Impact Statement.

While TransCanada has repeatedly insisted that the Keystone XL pipeline is ‘energy from a trusted ally,’ the company has not committed to keeping that oil within the United States. As this poll demonstrates, Americans overwhelmingly want TransCanada to stop hiding behind its lobbyists and legally commit to fulfilling the pledge they are publically making to America.


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