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That's One Popular Pipeline
The American People Want Keystone

Nearly two-thirds of the country would like to see President Obama approve the Keystone XL pipeline, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Among the respondents, 65 percent support the potential pipeline that would connect Canada’s tar sands with U.S. refineries along the Gulf coast. That’s a 6 percent bump from a similar poll conducted in June of 2012.

Economic rationale seems to trump environmental concerns: A whopping 86 percent believed the pipeline would create a significant number of new jobs, while respondents were nearly evenly split on whether or not Keystone posed a “significant risk to the environment.” Despite this division on the pipeline’s green costs (which, despite the considerable effort the environmental movement has mobilized against the project, will be minimal), support for the pipeline’s approval appears to be building. And, as the Washington Post reports, Keystone’s appeal is bipartisan:

Support for Keystone is highest among Republicans, with 82 percent backing it. But majorities of independents and Democrats also want it approved, at 65 and 51 percent, respectively. Only self-identified liberal Democrats lean against, 47 percent to 36 percent. […]

“Bipartisan majorities in Congress and a majority of the American people support moving forward with the Keystone XL pipeline,” Cindy Schild, the American Petroleum Institute’s senior refining and oil sands issues manager, said in a conference call Thursday. “The Obama administration has all the evidence it needs to approve the Keystone XL pipeline without further delay.”

Obama will still be wary that approving Keystone could spark a backlash during this year’s midterm election campaigns, but it seems that most people who don’t self-identify as green support the project. And it’s worth noting that picking the pipeline as its chief mobilizing issue was an extraordinary strategic blunder by the environmental movement. Not only is the position unpopular, it isn’t even green—that oil is coming out of the ground whether we build this pipeline or not, and transporting it via Keystone would be a safer option than its accident-prone rail and truck alternatives.

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  • Boritz

    “65 percent support the potential pipeline….”

    They are overruled by the 51.1 percent of the 2012 election.

  • Jake Browning

    Science magazine (the publication of the largest body of scientists in America, the AAAS) endorsed the pipeline in the 2/21 issue in a very thoughtful editorial. Marcia McNutt, the editor-in-chief, explains the gains environmentalists have made by stalling the pipeline and requiring regulations and changes. She also admits, since the environmental concerns have been met, the pipeline should now be approved. Nature (the equivalent publication in Britain) made the same claim last year. Both are well worth a read to see what scientists, as opposed to environmentalists, are saying. And to see how little time smart environmentalists like McNutt have for the Green movement’s radicalism.

  • rheddles

    Economic rationale seems to trump environmental concerns

    What environmental concerns? I see a lot of environmentalists objecting, but no concerns. Especially compared to the demonstrable concerns of transporting oil via rail.

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