Poll: Majority want answers on Keystone oil destination

A majority of U.S. voters want to know where the crude oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline will end up, according to a new poll released Thursday.

Climate activist Tom Steyer's group NextGen Climate Action commissioned the poll, which found 85 percent of registered voters want to know where the crude oil coming from Canada will go and want their lawmakers to ask questions.

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From that, 54 percent of the voters surveyed think most of the oil will stay in the United States.

Steyer is arguing that voters aren't aware of the final destination for crude oil that would flow through the proposed Keystone pipeline, which would run from oil sands in Alberta to Gulf refineries.

In the last month, Steyer's group has unleashed a new wave of ads against the pipeline, citing a $30 billion investment by Chinese companies.

The poll conducted by SurveyUSA found that voters in battleground states are just as troubled by the investment as those across the country.

TransCanada hit back at the accusation that the pipeline would send oil overseas.

"Keystone XL is not an export pipeline - it is a supply line to U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast refineries. The oil we transport to these refineries will be used to create products like gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels that are consumed in large volumes every day in the United States," said Shawn Howard, spokesman for TransCanada.

Oil Sands Fact Check -- which represents a broad coalitions of stakeholders including the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers -- said Steyer left out an important question in the poll.

"He failed to ask Americans if they support Keystone XL – no doubt because an overwhelming majority of Americans want the pipeline to be built," said Katie Brown, spokeswoman for the coalition. “Meanwhile yet another Democratic official, President Obama’s former USGS chief, has just endorsed Keystone XL.”  

Marcia McNutt, who headed the U.S. Geological Survey is the latest former administration official to come out in support of the pipeline.

Earlier this month, Ken Salazar, former Interior Secretary said he thinks the administration should green light the $5.4 billion project.

Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager turned activist, has made Keystone XL his primary target in the last year and plans to funnel more money into the campaign.

On a phone call with reporters, Chris Lehane, adviser to Steyer, said the green group doesn't plan on coming out in full force against Democrats like Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.), but they could run an ad on her backing Keystone XL and asking her to revisit her decision on the pipeline.