Voters dislike Keystone XL delays, latest API-commissioned poll finds

Most US voters believe years of Obama administration delays in reaching a decision over whether TransCanada Corp. should receive a cross-border permit for its proposed Keystone XL (KXL) crude oil pipeline have hurt US energy security and the economy, a telephone poll commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute found.

“As we mark 7 years since the initial permit application was filed for [KXL], 67% of American voters said failure to act on KXL has hurt our economy and energy security,” Cindy Schild, API’s downstream operations senior manager for refining and oil sands, said on Sept. 17 as API released the survey by Harris’s Nielsen division.

“Sixty-eight percent support building the project, and 66% are more likely to support a candidate who supports approving [KXL],” she told reporters.

The proposed 1,179-mile, 36-in. pipeline from Hardisty, Alta., to Steele City, Neb., requires a presidential determination that its construction across the border would be in the country’s national interest. The White House has said it is waiting for a fresh recommendation from the US Department of State.

Nielsen conducted the random telephone survey Sept. 10-13 of 907 registered voters (32% of whom said they were Republicans, 32% of whom said they were Democrats, and 22% of whom said they were Independents).

The survey also found that among the respondents:

• 83% believe a US president should not have the sole power to decide national energy infrastructure projects.

• 79% believe US foreign policy should support Canadian oil at least as much as Iranian oil.

• 78% believe building KXL would help create jobs in the US and keep energy dollars here in North America.

“Delaying the pipeline continues to be a missed opportunity for the thousands of hard-working men and women in the labor industry,” Schild said. “The 42,000 jobs and the $2 billion in wages that could be made building [KXL] remain out of their reach because this president refuses to make the right decision.”

At the Sept. 15 daily press briefing, White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest said, “I don’t have anything new in terms of timing, but the State Department may, and you can check with them.”

When a reporter observed that US Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) “struck out on his summertime prediction” that President Barack Obama would reject the project’s permit application in August, Earnest said, “He’s not the only one. He can take some solace in that.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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