Groups opposed to TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline say public opinion is building in their favor.
Bold Nebraska and the Nebraska Chapter of the Sierra Club released the results of a public opinion poll conducted by Lake Research Partners in which 64% of the respondents stated they would vote in favor of a ballot initiative giving the state authority to regulate oil pipelines. Strong support for such an initiative, according to pollster Joshua Ulibarri, stands at 45%, the total support growing to the 64% mark.
Ulibarri outlined the survey’s results during a news conference held by Bold Nebraska and the Sierra Club in Lincoln. He said that voters indicated growing opposition to the pipeline; 47% in opposition with 33% in support. Intensity broadens the separation of the two sides, according to Ulibarri, who says 37% of those surveyed strongly oppose the pipeline with 21% strongly favoring it.
A concern about the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer drives opposition, according to Ulibarri. Other motivators include pipeline safety and private property rights. Sixty-eight percent of those questioned support banning foreign-owned corporations from taking private land through eminent domain. A majority of those surveyed support requiring the Attorney General to draft a uniform contract for landowners to assist in any negotiations with TransCanada.
Lake Research Partners surveyed 604 likely voters between August 29th and September 1st. The margin of error is four percent.
TransCanada proposes building a $7 billion pipeline from Western Canada to the Gulf Coast. The proposed route would go through the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer. Two public hearings on the proposal will be held in Nebraska next week, one in the Sand Hills. The first public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, September 27th at the Pershing Center in Lincoln, beginning at noon. The State Department will take testimony from noon until 3:30pm, take a break and return for more testimony at 4pm. Two days later, the State Department will hear from the public in Atkinson. That public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, September 29th at West Holt High School in Atkinson, scheduled to begin at 4:30pm.