Americans are more supportive of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline than Canadians are, according to a poll by an analyst at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Seventy-four percent of Americans surveyed said they support U.S. government approval of the TransCanada Corp. project that would carry oil from Canada through the U.S., compared with 68 percent of Canadians, according to polling by Nik Nanos, a scholar at the Washington-based institute. Americans also are more likely to say achieving North American energy independence is more important than reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the poll.
“The research indicates that although both Americans and Canadians believe that reducing greenhouse gases is important, energy security, particularly in the U.S., is driving views on energy issues,” Nanos said in a statement. The idea of having North America free from importing oil “trumps reducing greenhouse gases as a policy priority.”
The $5.3 billion project, which would carry bitumen from oil-sands deposits in Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, has faced opposition from environmentalists who say development of the oil sands will increase greenhouse-gas emissions and the pipeline could lead to spills. The U.S. State Department is reviewing the project because it crosses an international border.
Sixty-three percent of Americans surveyed said North American oil independence is more important than reducing greenhouse gases, compared with 55 percent of Canadians. Americans are also more supportive than Canadians of a continental energy strategy and the concept of common environmental standards between the two countries.
The poll of 1,007 Americans was taken between March 28 and April 7, while 1,013 Canadians were surveyed between April 6 and April 9. Both surveys have a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.