API: Recent survey shows strong public support for Keystone XL

A strong majority of US voters favors building the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, a survey commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute found.

“The Keystone XL wraps new American jobs and energy security into a single common sense package,” API Pres. Jack N. Gerard said as the survey’s results were released on Feb. 13. “That’s why voters overwhelmingly back it, why the nation needs it, and why the administration should approve it.”

He made the observation the same day 48 opponents of the project were arrested in acts of civil disobedience in front of the White House. They included Bill McKibbon, founder of 350.org, and Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

The two groups plan to stage what they hope will be the biggest climate change rally in history Feb. 17 at the Washington Monument, followed by a march to the White House.

The Feb. 5-10 telephone poll of 1,001 randomly-called registered voters by Harris Interactive found 69% of the respondents favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, 83% believe it would strengthen the nation’s energy security, and 92% agree jobs are important when considering the project.

“With national unemployment still hovering around 8%—and unemployment in the construction sector more than double that—getting people into these new jobs is critical,” Gerard maintained.

He noted that TransCanada Corp., the project’s sponsor, estimates the full Keystone XL pipeline would create 20,000 jobs. “But even more jobs would be created over the long term,” Gerard added. “According to the Canadian Energy Research Institute, the pipeline could support 117,000 new American jobs associated with oil sands development by 2035.”

API plans to intensify its efforts to get the Obama administration to approve the project’s cross-border permit, he told reporters in a teleconference.

“We’ll be asking our grassroots organizations to weigh in on the issue,” Gerard said. “We’ll be advertising, making presentations at events around the country, and calling on allies and potential allies—including business and labor leaders, veterans, educators, and others—to write to the president and Congress urging approval of the project.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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