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Majority supports Keystone XL pipeline project

Rochester Business Journal
March 14, 2014

More than three-quarters of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll say the Keystone XL pipeline project should be approved.

Nearly 80 percent say the Keystone XL pipeline project is important to U.S. energy security and the American economy, with 59 percent saying it is “very important.” This compares with 11 percent who say it is not very important and 12 percent who say it’s not at all important.

The State Department recently released a long-awaited report that concluded the Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen carbon pollution. President Barack Obama has yet to make a decision on the 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline, which would deliver 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the Gulf Coast, but he has said he would approve the pipeline if it would not significantly worsen the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposed 1,179-mile XL pipeline—875 miles of which would be in the United States—is the fourth phase of the Keystone Pipeline System; the first three phases are in operation. The XL pipeline would connect Hardisty, Alberta, and Steele City, Neb.

Calgary-based TransCanada Corp., which owns the pipeline system, argues that the XL pipeline “is a critical infrastructure project for the energy security of the United States and for strengthening the American economy.” Opponents cite the risk of oil spills along the pipeline and the higher greenhouse gas emissions from the extraction of oil from tar sands compared with conventional extraction.

Nearly 800 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted March 10 and 11.

Should the Keystone XL pipeline project be approved?
Yes:  78%   
No:  22%

In your view, is the Keystone XL pipeline project important to U.S. energy security and the American economy?
Very important: 59%
Somewhat important: 19%
Not very important: 11%
Not at all important: 12%


Continuing to exploit our natural resources without putting similar levels of investment into renewable energy is ludicrous. Energy companies that continue to put personal, short-term profits over our shared, long-term future do not deserve any financial considerations. Their taxes should be reinvested in renewable energy options so someday we won't need Keystone XL. Despite these views, I also would rather have the United States partner with Canada on Keystone XL than have Canada partner with another country on a similar project. Along these lines, I want the final phases of Keystone XL to be entirely privately funded; I don't want one public cent spent to get "Phase IV" done, including no tax breaks. I also want the energy companies to pay for continuous, rigorous and empowered environmental oversight, not just in the immediate area around Keystone XL, but across the states and environmental zones that will be affected by this project.
—Katie Orem, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

Unfortunately, by the time it's built, there may not be much oil left and there will be so many new tanker rail cars available the railroads will become more competitive. The approval is almost as slow as (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo is.
—Daniel Mossien, architect

If the goal of the U.S. energy policy is to be energy self-sufficient with Mexico and Canada, then the Keystone XL Pipeline is a no-brainer: shovel-ready jobs in construction, more jobs at the oil refineries, cheaper oil and gasoline and a greater booming economy. More deals for Sweetwater Energy to capture the CO2 emissions from the factories. The only reason not to build the Keystone XL pipeline is so that President Obama can charge up his environmentalist base and the economy be damned.
—Clifford Jacobson M.D.

It’s amazing to realize that we have sunk so far as a country that the simplest and most obvious decisions have become impossible to make due to mindless political considerations.
—George Dounce

The project should not be approved. The limited number of jobs that will be created are temporary. The environmental dangers are permanent!
—Lola Kelly

While I am in favor of approval, I will make one comment: It is a great target for terrorist attack as it is designed.
—Wayne Donner, Rush

Ecological disaster in the making on all fronts—carbon, soil, water, wildlife habitat, despoiling natural beauty. We are smarter than this. We need to abandon oil, coal, etc., and go to clean, renewal, Earth-safe alternatives. They are out there already. We need to invest in them now.
—Eve Elzenga, Eve Elzenga Design

Very high-risk to our “breadbasket” states with virtually no reward to our nation.
—Art Maurer

This pipeline running through the heart our nation will do nothing for the United States in terms of good, long-term jobs and lowering gasoline and heating oil prices. Any money we would benefit from would be very short-lived, and it will pose a big danger to our environment, especially since the crude running through it is the dirtiest type of crude there is. Let the Canadians run the pipeline through their own country.
—Grant Osman

Yes, and quickly. We will need oil for the foreseeable future, so it is stupid not to build it. And seeing how Russia is behaving in Ukraine (while threatening Europe with cutting off their energy supply if they intervene), it is also of great strategic importance, as well. And did I mention all the jobs it would also create?
—George Thomas, Ogden

Just get it done!
—Peter Short, Pittsford

The sooner we're out of the Middle East, the better. This may not be the whole solution, but it's definitely part of it. Build it already!
—Michael Lawrence

Any project that creates jobs, helps our country be less dependent on foreign energy sources and has limited or no impact on the environment should be approved. The XL pipeline meets all three criteria.
—Robert Zinnecker, Penfield

Keystone XL establishes a terrible precedent, namely that a rich foreign company can come here and execute the right of eminent domain. This is a travesty and an attack on individual property rights, one of the foundations of our freedom and prosperity.
—David Rubin

Let's see: build a pipeline across American farmland to haul highly toxic sludge from Canada to ships in the Gulf to transport it to China. Maybe 30 to 40 permanent jobs. Really smart, America, really smart.
—Carlos Mercado

This is simply a matter of good economic sense. It’s the environmental lobby against the good of the nation. As usual, the politicians will decide based on how many votes it buys them.
—Jim Weisbeck, Bloomfield

Can I get one good reason not to build it? Good grief! It's not like a pipeline is something new to us.
—Steve Wichtowski, Honeoye

Most people have never seen a "system" map of the current network of oil and natural gas pipe lines in the USA. (It looks like bowl of spaghetti plopped on the U.S.) If you did, you would ask yourself, “What is the issue here?” I believe the president's issue is the new amount of emissions released from refining of the oil in the Texas refineries. This is a national security issue that could be solved by North American oil independence from OPEC. I will take the environmental risk on this issue.
—Stanley Hilt, Henrietta

Seems like kind of a no-brainer. A pipeline is likely a lower cost, safer, more efficient way to transport crude oil than trucks and trains which are being used now.
—Doug Lyon, Lyon Capital Management

The U.S. should do everything possible to obtain alternate sources of oil. Anything less is another example of this administration stifling our economy and our future; just like Cuomo is doing to our state's economy by withholding our ability to drill natural gas here.
—David Wagner

No—why should we build this pipeline? Let's stay dependent on Middle East oil for another 50 years so they can continue to choke the U.S.A. Why should we put hundreds if not thousands of U.S. taxpayers back to work with good-paying jobs? Oh, probably because 100 feet of the 800+ mile pipeline impedes on the nesting ground of the Blue Karner Butterfly! Maybe we can even turn the tides on exports/imports and our debt. Turn OPEC on their heels. Again we all get hurt because of politics instead of doing the right thing by the American people. Yes, the pipeline should go in. It’s safer than rail, it will create jobs, it will help the economy, it is part of our National Security. While we are at it, dethrone King Obama.
—D. Topian, WREA

The pipeline is not as critical as some would have you believe. However, the impact on many of those who live and work near the pipeline is critical. Also, the number of jobs that will be generated as a result of the construction I believe is exaggerated. Also, it appears that not if, but when, leaks occur the protections for landowners does not look good, especially if the leak impacts the water supply. I'm not totally opposed to the pipeline, however I am opposed to the way "eminent domain" appears to be running roughshod against people who have lived along the proposed route for decades. Is the pipeline really as important as some say? I have my doubts. However, I have little doubt that the energy industry will make billions and billions of dollars while paying little or no taxes.
–Peter Bonenfant

The pipeline is on hold for purely political reasons. This country is in desperate need of an honest and decisive leader.
—Kathleen A. Wright

This is a no-brainer. Let’s just get on with it. The current dust-up in the Ukraine is one more piece of evidence that we must get ourselves energy independent (and help our European friends to get much less dependent on Russia).
—Bob Worden, Penn Yan

It's very important to the energy companies that make money on the pipeline—and a huge gift to our Canadian friends north of the border. Realistically, though the last thing we need to be doing is encouraging practices such as fracking and tar-sands mining. These practices just encourage the wasteful and polluting use of carbon based fuels, and the destruction of landscape and environment required to harvest and use those fuels. Let's take the several billion and invest it strategically in renewable energy which is independent of geographic limitations like fossil fuels are today. Or if you must have fossil fuels put it behind "green" processes such as algae to fuel harvesting.
—Lee Drake, CEO, OS-Cubed Inc.

It is my belief that the sole reason the Keystone XL pipeline is being held up is the result of Obama's entanglement with extremist environmentalists. He knows full well the vast number of jobs and the positive economic benefits of the pipeline if approved; yet he kowtows to the environmentalist “whack jobs” who helped him get elected. He doesn't care that these extremists would have us living in caves if it would save the Earth. Well, Obama doesn't really care whether America prospers as long as he and his friends can succeed at retaining and expanding control over us, slow economic growth, and reduce us from superpower to third world nation. With Keystone XL we have a chance to grow and that cannot be permitted. Cuomo is doing the same in regards to hydro-fracturing for natural gas in New York. Guess they're just two peas in a pod.
—Michael F. Kloppel, chairman, Ontario County Conservative Party

Keystone XL and anything making it easier for the Canadians to transport their toxic, environmentally dangerous tar sands "oil" should not be approved. How many accidents, how many thousands upon thousands of acres of devastated wilderness do we have to witness before we get the idea that it's not only too dangerous, but steering us 180 degrees from the renewable energy direction we should be taking?
—Margie Campaigne, Margie's Green Home Consulting

The United States is sitting on energy independence, the potential to unleash our economy, pay down our debt, and at same time weaken our enemies without firing a shot. We have some of the largest reserves of oil and natural gas in the world and yet our political leaders have been intimidated by left wing radical environmentalists who are funded in part by our enemies outside of our country, dictatorial regimes like Saudi Arabia, Russia, etc. and/or some Marxist internationalists. The Keystone XL pipeline would enable one of our best allies, Canada, to bring energy products to market in the United States which increase supply and help reduce energy costs.
—John Rynne, president, Rynne, Murphy & Associates Inc.

3/14/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

What You're Saying 

Frank Regan at 12:10:14 PM on 3/14/2014
Stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline, a line drawn by environmentalists for stopping Climate Change, gets dismissed in Rochester, NY. It is as if our community has been removed from the entire issue of Climate Change and how that relates to our use of fossil fuels—the burning ...  Read More >

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