Pew Poll: Most Americans Support Keystone XL Pipeline

Friday, 27 Sep 2013 02:41 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A large majority of Americans favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, but an equal number also support more strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions from the nation's power plants, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

Overall, the poll of 1,506 adults taken Sept. 4-8 reflects the public's complex attitudes about energy policy, Pew officials said.

Editor's Note: 22 Hidden Taxes and Fees Set to Hit You With Obamacare. Read the Guide to Protect Yourself.

For example, while 65 percent of those surveyed by Pew are in favor of the Keystone project, 65 percent want tighter controls on gas emissions. At the same time, 58 percent say they're open to increasing energy production from traditional sources like oil and gas drilling, but 49 percent of those surveyed oppose the drilling technique known as fracking.

At the same, 38 percent of survey participants are in favor of expanding nuclear energy production, while 58 percent are opposed, which marks the highest level of opposition to nuclear power since Pew first posed the question in 2005.

In addition, the survey also found that 58 percent of respondents favor the development of alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar, and hydrogen technology, compared to 34 percent who say increased production from traditional sources should take priority.

When it comes to the pipeline, which President Barack Obama could decide on within a few months, Pew found majorities of support across the partisan divide. Eighty-two percent of Republicans said they support the project spanning the U.S.-Canadian border and 51 percent of Democrats said build it as well. Among independents, 64 percent voiced their support.

North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp told USA Today Thursday that Obama has "got himself painted into the corner" by the pipeline's environmental opponents. She believes, however, that a Keystone pipeline bill can pass both the Senate and House with enough votes to override a veto by the president, if it comes to that.

It's unclear what decision Obama will make in the end, but Heitkamp said it's becoming "very difficult" for him "to find a real, factual, legal reason to deny the permit."

In the meantime, Republican and Democratic supporters of the project are keeping up the pressure on the president.

The Pew survey also noted that the big energy boom in the U.S. from increased oil and gas drilling hasn't registered widely with the American public. Only 48 percent said production is up, and just 34 percent attributed it to greater domestic oil, gas, and coal production.

The survey found a large partisan divide over offshore drilling, with nearly 80 percent of Republicans supporting more offshore oil and gas drilling, compared with 44 percent of Democrats.

Editor's Note: 22 Hidden Taxes and Fees Set to Hit You With Obamacare. Read the Guide to Protect Yourself.

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