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Popular Support for Keystone XL Doesn’t Connect with Gas Price Increases

Senator John Thune thinks that 65% of Americans want the Keystone XL pipeline. Maybe 65% of Americans say that, but that "support" may signal that they don't understand the real effects the pipeline would have.

Consider this subsequent poll that finds that 77% of Americans support restrictions on oil exports if those restrictions help keep domestic gasoline prices down. The absence of Keystone XL is a significant practical export restriction. As we've discussed here numerous times, TransCanada's business case for Keystone XL is to make more money by clearing the North American glut, pushing its oil out to China and other global bidders, and raising our gasoline prices here in America.

People who support Keystone XL may operating, like Rep. Kristi Noem, under the hopeful assumption that a new pipeline means new oil for us and cheaper prices at the pump. But TransCanada's last big pipeline project produced no such result.

You and I don't stand to benefit from the Keystone XL pipeline. But the Koch Brothers do:

The biggest lease owner in Canada's oil sands isn't one of the well-known international oil giants. It's a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the privately owned cornerstone of the fortune of conservative Koch brothers Charles and David.

The Koch Industries subsidiary holds leases on 1.1 million acres — an area nearly the size of Delaware — in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, according to an activist group that studied Alberta provincial records.

...[T]he International Forum on Globalization... is arguing that Koch will benefit indirectly. The IFG contends that the Keystone XL pipeline will create competition among rail and other pipelines and lower transportation costs for all oil sands producers, bolstering profit margins and making additional reserves economically viable [Steven Mufson and Juliet Elperin, "Koch Brothers' Quiet Play: Oil Sands," Lincoln Journal-Star, 2014.03.22].

Once again, Senator John Thune and the Republican Party put the interests of Big Oil over the economic and environmental interests of South Dakotans. Thanks, John!


  1. rollin potter 2014.03.22

    Bring on the keystone XL pipe line people!!!! When you get your west central electric bill after they start buying extra electricity to power keystones booster pumps to push that goop thru south dakota for keystone don't holler!!!!!! just check your billing statement!!!! my power cost adjustment for my 03/05/14 statement was $39.43. wonder what it will be when we have to buy extra power for kestones pumps?????

  2. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.22

    Given the Koch brothers history on their war on American culture and specifically the war on President Obama, the president would be politically savvy to DENY this environmental disaster. Keystone is an accident waiting to happen.

  3. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.03.22

    I have a deep and abiding distaste for those bros. They are willing to do any amount of harm to any number of people to further enrich themselves. That is exceptionally perverse.

    When a young, hoodied black man shoots and kills another, we call that terrible. When he has no remorse we call him a thug and a monster. We find him frightening because he seems to be randomly dangerous.

    What do we call the Kochs when they cause birth defects, debilitating injuries and other suffering to dozens or hundreds or thousands of people? (Remember, Kochs deny all responsibility.) I don't have a strong enough word for that depth of depravity.

    I'd be much safer in a mixed race community than a lily white one in Kochs way.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.03.23

    Jerry: dang! That spill in Galveston Bay is just a few miles down the road from Port Arthur, TX, which is where Keystone XL will unload all that tar sands oil for shipment to China.

  5. Jerry 2014.03.23

    If the crap even gets that far. As it looks now and as it has looked, it will be leaked before it gets there. We all know it, why on earth would we allow this to happen to our state and world?

  6. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.03.23

    Why? Greed on the part of the Kochs.

    Fear on the part of the populace. They are afraid they will lose their way of life, car, home, roots. The fear-mongering by the Kochs and their ilk is effective. High levels of financial and social stress is irrelevant to the 1%, but as long as it makes them money, other's pain is just collateral damage.

  7. Anne Beal 2014.03.24

    I would rather get oil from the Canadians than send money to Venezuela or Saudi Arabia. One could argue that oil money will turn Canada into a nation of crazy people too but I just don't see that.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.03.24

    Anne, I'd love to keep buying Canadian oil instead of Venezuelan or Saudi oil, too. The Canadians are generally very nice, polite, reliable people. But Keystone XL is designed to shoot that oil right through the U.S. and out the door to China. The only Canadian oil we will see from KXL is the oil that spills on our ground.

  9. mike from iowa 2014.03.24

    Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Exxon-Valdez disaster in Prince William Sound. Oil is still there,some of the fisheries have died out completely. Think about it and then think about Keystone XL.

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