If America had the opportunity to vote on whether or not to approve the Keystone Pipeline, the TransCanada project would go down in defeat.
That's my takeaway from a Gallup poll released April 10, finding a sold majority of Americans support alternative energies rather than traditional ones. Nearly six-in-ten (59 percent) of Gallup respondents back an emphasis on wind and solar power, while 31 percent opt for oil, gas and coal production.
Karen Tyrone, VP of operations for ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., talks to media near the spill earlier this week.
Gallup also found that most people favor conservation over energy production to assure an adequate supply of power by a 51 percent to 36 percent edge.
President Obama is expected to rule "yeah or nay" on Keystone by June. I had thought the president was going to approve the plan to transport heavy tar sand oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast as a "jobs" measure. I now have second thoughts.
Exxon's March 29 pipeline puncture near Mayflower, Arkansas, is a powerful image for anti-Keystoners. It's so powerful that Exxon has been accused on barring reporters to the site, which the company denies. Reports and images of dead or oily birds are too reminiscent of the polluted sea birds during Exxon's Valdez crisis. One expects trainloads of Dawn detergent will be sent to Arkansas for bird clean-up duties.
The oil giant's heavy-handed response to the accident doesn't help matters. Exxon's PA chief Ken Cohen lashes out at anti-fossil fuel activists for seeking to "capitalize on this unfortunate event. On his blog, Cohen presents "five whoppers they're pushing out on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook."
Cohen notes that Exxon has been "accused of imposing martial law, practicing fascism and barring media from the site." Exxon's over-the-top response is playing into the hands of its opponents. It should keep its head low and get down to business in Mayflower.
More bad news for Keystone: Obama alienated a good chunk of his base with his proposal to slow the growth of Social Security and Medicare spending. Former Labor Security Robert Reich faulted the commander-in-chief's negotiating savvy, saying Obama " throws things on the table before the Republicans have even sat down for dinner."
If the president approves Keystone, he'll alienate another chunk of his base. Considering the president has another three and a half years in office, is that the right thing to do?
TransCanada and Alberta have their PR work cut out for them.