A majority of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll—57 percent—disagree with the Obama administration’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline after more than seven years of governmental review and political debate.
Fifty-eight percent say the Keystone XL pipeline project is important to U.S. energy security and the American economy. This compares with 23 percent who say it’s not very important and 18 percent who say it’s not at all important.
In a March 2014 Snap Poll, support for the pipeline project was significantly higher—78 percent of nearly 800 respondents wanted it approved. At that time, 59 percent said the pipeline project was very important to U.S. energy security and the American economy, compared with 37 percent now.
“This pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others,” President Barack Obama said. However, he added, the pipeline “would not serve the national interest of the United States” and approving it would undermine U.S. leadership on climate change.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents say they are concerned about climate change. This is slightly higher than in November 2012, when 62 percent of some 840 Snap Poll respondents were concerned about climate change, which had been the focus of much discussion in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
The proposed 1,179-mile Keystone XL crude oil pipeline—875 miles of which would be in the United States—would deliver as much as 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the Gulf Coast. It would be the fourth phase of the Keystone Pipeline System, connecting Hardisty, Alberta, and Steele City, Neb. The first three phases already are in operation.
Calgary-based TransCanada Corp., which owns the pipeline system, and other proponents have argued the XL pipeline would boost the energy security of the United States and strengthen the U.S. economy. Among its findings, the State Department concluded that the XL pipeline would have a “negligible impact” on U.S. energy security, would not lower gas prices for U.S. consumers and would have a marginal long-term benefit to the nation’s economy. It also would bring into this country “a particularly dirty source of fuel.”
The decision comes roughly a month before a summit in Paris that could produce a new global climate change agreement.
Eight hundred readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted Nov. 9 and 10.
Do you agree or disagree with the Obama administration’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline project?
In your view, is the Keystone XL pipeline project important to U.S. energy security and the American economy?
Very important: 37%
Somewhat important: 21%
Not very important: 23%
Not at all important: 18%
Are you concerned about climate change?
Very concerned: 40%
Somewhat concerned: 27%
Not very concerned: 20%
Not at all concerned: 12%
A non-science based political decision by the president, pandering to his base while negatively impacting jobs, economic growth, and national security. One way or another, that oil will be coming out of the ground. Without the Keystone pipeline, it will move in a much more hazardous fashion by truck or train, likely benefiting countries other than the U.S.
It is my understanding that all the oil that would flow through the Keystone pipeline is intended for overseas consumption and not U.S. consumption. In addition, the impact on jobs is 2,000 to 3,000 during the construction and less than 100 afterward. Those jobs are not needed in today’s job market, in my opinion. I have always seen the pipeline as a high-risk, low-reward option for the U.S.
I rarely agree with anything Obama does, but this time we are in sync. There is very little that the pipeline will do for us, and from an environmental standpoint it could someday be another oil disaster for us that we don’t need. We have a serious problem with unemployed people in this country that our government wants to overlook and that needs to be addressed, but not with the few temporary jobs this pipeline would create. This pipeline only represents the wants of the big investors in this country and Canada. It does nothing to benefit the middle- and lower-class people of the U.S.A.
If we want to worry about climate control, perhaps we can have all politicians stop blowing hot air on their own importance!
How does this make any sense to anyone? We’ll ship oil across the ocean from countries whose populations chant “death to America” in the streets, yet we reject affordable oil from a friendly neighboring country like Canada? Sounds a lot like Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking in New York too! Both decisions are ridiculous.
The Keystone pipeline would augment the U.S. energy infrastructure and most definitely enhance our energy security. With the U.S. now the largest producer of oil globally—not just the biggest consumer—we have seen oil prices plummet. OPEC will not continue its excess supply strategy forever. The U.S. needs to remain strong in its oil production and distribution strategy. Frankly, what is more discouraging to me is New York State’s prudish stance on Marcellus Shale natural gas development. So-called clean energy and thousands of jobs are being squandered. Let’s build another casino! That will stimulate the economy, right?
—P.J. Guisto, managing partner, J.C. Jones & Associates LLC
The world is going to use oil, and it will continue to use oil regardless of what policy we set. We should approve the pipeline and generate revenue from it. That money could be used to pay for infrastructure or our debt, or used for research into alternative energy sources.
This is all a big media “political” play. The oil is being extracted and shipped to refineries and ports. Except via riskier methods like ocean-based tankers and on land rail cars (not designed for hazmat, too). So, it makes no sense to think not building a pipeline will have a positive effect of climate. It seems tankers and rail cars use more energy and are more prone to derail and leak, too.
—D. Giambattista, Fairport
We need to have the vision to look to the future so as to determine the significance of today’s decisions on tomorrow’s children. Seeking cleaner ways to live on this planet will undoubtedly create many more jobs and a more livable (or livable at all) planet. Simply justifying the use of an outdated, harmful energy source with the ruse that such an action creates more jobs is short-sighted. Does this way of thinking reduce our efforts to seek more innovative and earth-friendly sources of energy—ones that will ultimately create far more jobs and a better world for all of us? Let’s get creative!
The pipeline was rejected, and the oil is still being shipped by rail, which is much less safe.
Obama’s decision was 100 percent political, in the same way Cuomo’s ban on fracking was pure politics. Neither action was backed by science—in fact, the science supports the pipeline and drilling for natural gas here in New York. Our country has been taken over by ideologues and political panderers. What happened to the adults who used to run for offices like president and governor?
Unfortunately, we are starting to enter a cooling period caused by the sun! Humans cannot control the weather. It’s outside the domain of man! Sorry for those who think they can control everything!
Look up (American hedge fund manager) Tom Steyer’s donation of $100 million to Obama and (Senate Democratic Leader Harry) Reid to kill the Keystone pipeline. The Democrats took the $100 million and Obama killed the Keystone.
We must pursue to be a world leader in energy, with our Canadian neighbors. To abandon this tremendous opportunity to strengthen our ties with Canada is foolish. This president and his incompetence just continue to prevail. Golly sakes, please get to the end of his term before we are nothing in the eyes of the world.
—Ted Voll Jr.
With the worsening situation in the Middle East and intensifying disagreements with Russia, any dependence on our part and those of our European friends (are they still friends?) on these regions for oil or gas gets increasingly risky. This pipeline will do no environmental harm and will provide jobs and other economic benefits. Now, more than ever, we should be doing what we can to reduce any energy dependence we have on these unstable regions.
—Bob Worden, Penn Yan
The idea is still what is causing climate change. We might be contributing to it, but it probably is going to happen anyway. I do think the personnel interests of some politicians are driving their agenda. The question is, can we curb climate change significantly enough to make a difference? I do not believe we can curb it enough to change what is going to happen. They are being politically correct; they should be looking at other factors—out-of-control world population growth, energy requirements, etc.
I don’t trust the findings or research from the government on the pipeline. Other reports claim that the pipeline would be safer than moving the oil by rail. Who benefits from keeping oil transported by rail? Warren Buffett would benefit, and he is a major supporter of Obama.
—Mike Hogan, Information Packaging
The Keystone XL pipeline is a job creator and a good step toward U.S. energy independence. It is also a much safer and efficient way to transport the oil (which is now coming in on trains and trucks). And there is no cost to the taxpayers! It’s a no-brainer. Anything we can do to keep energy and gasoline costs low is good for every American! Whose side is our president on?
—George Thomas, Ogden
Once upon a time there was much talk of “shovel-ready jobs” from projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline. That train has left the station. Much of that oil that would be transported safely by the Keystone XL pipeline is now transported less efficiently and more dangerously by tanker cars. Important research on clean coal technology has been dismissed. Why can’t Obama learn to just get out of the way of the economy?
—Clifford Jacobson M.D.
The safest way to transport oil is by pipeline (as opposed to rail or truck). It is also the least harmful to the environment. This was purely a political decision by Obama. He caved in to the global warming/climate change agenda (the new religion of the left/progressives). While Obama jets around the world leaving the big “carbon footprint,” he demands the rest of us suck it up and ride bikes. He is nothing more than a hypocrite.
—Al Kempf, Fairport
Obviously, this decision will not be a game changer, no matter what! In addition, if we are truly concerned about the climate change, this is minuscule compared to the industrial polluting by both China and India, and the world leaders are too cowardly to step up to the pumps!
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield
The Keystone pipeline would absolutely be a boost for the economies of the U.S. as well as Canada. This is a way to utilize the natural resources of North America to keep our independence from foreign countries. Global warming with its renaming to climate change is based on phony data used to negate our way of life. Obama is a liberty-free market-capitalist denier who doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism. He has waited to do this now because he doesn’t have to get re-elected.
—Todd Black, Black’s Hardware
The United States should do everything it can to be energy self-sufficient. How can anyone deny that approval of the pipeline would add well-paying jobs to an economy with more than 94 million people out of the workforce! Clearly the pipeline would create jobs and further the goal of energy self-sufficiency. How can the president say it would “not serve the national interest of the United States”? Does the administration have a clue what is in the national interest of the country? It certainly appears not to! Furthermore, how can the president say that "approving it would undermine U.S. leadership on climate change"? Doesn’t allowing the oil to be transported across Canada and exported to China (which has a far worse record of polluting) create more negative inputs to climate change than having it under our control? The United States has shown over the last two decades it has a very good record of reducing emissions, if not the best record in the industrialized world. China, on the other hand, has one of the worst records and is continually increasing its emissions. Not approving the pipeline is probably arguably the worst impact on worldwide pollutants! This is just another example of this administration being out of touch with reality!
—Keith B. Robinson, Diamond Packaging
It’s not surprising that the folks who are up in arms regarding this decision are the same ones who want to eviscerate the mass transit dollars for our community. Thanks for nothing, House Republicans.
I feel the administration handled this issue very cleverly. Delaying decisions over many years, until the relevancy of the pipeline subsided substantially. Well done!
What a colossal lie! Obama would have us believe that oil burned in Asia has less or no effect on climate. Not one reporter—by the way, where have all the real journalists gone—has called the administration on this. So we’ll continue to ship oil via rail, which is the most dangerous method of transporting the product. A statesman—and we seem to have none of those any more, as well—might have suggested a modest fee per barrel for this Canadian crude, which could be directed to some green energy effort. Everyone would be a winner. But this administration simply takes the position for it to win, the other side must lose. It’s sickening playground tactics.
There was no good reason for Obama to reject this project, except for his visceral hatred of the private sector and his desire to help Hillary’s campaign, which he needs in order to have a hope of preserving his demented legacy.
Building the Keystone XL at this point seems like carrying coals to Newcastle.
—Roy Kiggins, Seneca Falls
This is just another anti-America decision by our anti-American president.
—Jim Weisbeck, Bloomfield
Obama’s decision on the Keystone pipeline again shows his leftist agenda. He is beholden to the environmental extremists, some of who are “degrowthers.” “Degrowthers” want to see the capitalist system be replaced by socialism or worse and use these extreme environmental actions to slow down or stop industry and commerce. The sad fact is many people don’t realize this devious agenda by the left and have been brainwashed by the media that the entire environmental movement is something noble. The fact is, the Keystone pipeline not only would transport Canadian petroleum, it would have provided a corridor for petroleum from the northern United States. Not only would this create more economic vitality, it would decrease oil train traffic, which some say can be hazardous.
—John Rynne, president, Rynne, Murphy & Associates Inc.
Burning up the resources of the Middle East but sending large amounts of cash over there is unsettling. The U.S.A. has meddled for years with the government of those countries all over the oil. They have created martyrs, destroyed cultures and lead to generations of hatred. At the same time, we send them money and weapons to fund the terrorists we created. Should we build the pipeline? Yes, we should use all options to be able to leverage the markets.
Way to go, fearless leader! Kill jobs, keep the wars going and promote using renewables that are unproven and cost exponentially more! Woo-hoo! The good old U.S. of A. is on the right track now.
—Devin Michaels, Chili
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