During a conference call with reporters on the Keystone XL pipeline, we made them aware of a new poll from Nebraska, where a public hearing on this important energy project was scheduled. The 2012 Nebraska Rural Poll found support for the Keystone XL at 65 percent with people living in non-metropolitan areas – which include counties the pipeline would cross. The poll’s executive summary:
"Most rural Nebraskans are in favor of building the Keystone XL pipeline, but think it should be built on an alternate route that avoids the Sandhills and Ogallala aquifer."
Indeed, pipeline builder TransCanada has spent months addressing that caveat, rerouting the project around environmentally sensitive areas. The scheduled public hearing is an important step in advancing the Keystone XL in Nebraska, which is why this poll is significant.
What’s more, the survey’s results are consistent with support for the Keystone XL in a number of national surveys – 62 percent in the Washington Post, 57 percent in a Gallup survey, 60 percent in Rasmussen and 75 percent in a Harris Interactive poll.
Cindy Schild, API refining issues manager, outlined for reporters some of the reasons President Obama should approve the Keystone XL:
- 20,000 new U.S. jobs during the project’s construction.
- 100,000 U.S. jobs by 2035 from Canadian oil sands development, linked to the Keystone XL (according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute).
- Trade – 90 cents of every dollar spent on Canadian oil is returned to the U.S. in the form of U.S. goods and services purchased by Canadians.
- Environment – the project has cleared three separate comprehensive environmental reviews by the State Department.
- Refining – Canadian crude will be processed at U.S. refineries, which are some of the cleanest, most efficient facilities in the world and have invested billions to be able to process heavier crudes such as those coming from Canada.
“The Keystone XL pipeline clearly is in America’s interest, and we urge the president to give it a green light as soon as possible. … For most people, building the pipeline is common sense. We will need more oil just as we will need more jobs. While use of renewables will expand, oil will remain critical to our nation’s energy equation for decades to come. By the administration’s own estimates, oil and natural gas will continue to provide most of the energy we need to fuel our country for decades. A decision to approve the pipeline is a rational way to help plan for this. It could help reduce our dependency on oil from less stable parts of the world and contribute to achieving self-sufficiency in transportation fuels in as few as 12 years.”
Schild said claims that Canadian oil sands development emits more greenhouse gases than other crudes are incorrect. The most valid comparison of crudes is “wells to wheels,” she said - measuring emissions from extraction/production through consumption, where 70 to 80 percent of emissions occur regardless of the crude’s source. “Oil sands are comparable to other heavy crudes we’ve been refining in the U.S. for decades, Schild said.
John Kerekes, API central region director, joined the call from Nebraska and said the project enjoys broad support there:
“This pipeline application has been the most studied in history. It is now time to wrap this study up, hold this final hearing, issue a report to the governor, then let the governor communicate to the federal government the decision on behalf of the State of Nebraska. Then, let’s get the pipeline approved in Washington and – in the words of our labor allies – ‘let’s get to work!’”