Poll: America Supports Increasing Domestic Development of Oil, Natural Gas

April 29, 2014
  • Survey shows nationwide support for increasing domestic production
  • Fracking, safety procedures and level of regulations viewed favorably
  • Development on public lands overwhelmingly endorsed

(DENVER) - Voters across the country have favorable views of how oil and natural gas is produced and strongly support increasing domestic development, including on federal lands, according to national survey results released today by Western Energy Alliance. The results also show when voters are informed about regulations and industry safety practices, their support for oil and natural gas production and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) increases.

Western Energy Alliance commissioned the Tarrance Group to conduct the national telephone survey of 1,000 registered voters to gauge attitudes toward domestic energy development. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

Among the key findings, a majority have a favorable impression of how oil and natural gas is produced in the U.S., at 52 percent. Fully three out of four, 75 percent, favor increasing development of oil and natural gas in the U.S.

“Despite the opposition campaigns waged by environmental activists and anti-fracking celebrities, our industry receives high marks from the American public,” said Tim Wigley, president of Western Energy Alliance. “People recognize the role of oil and natural gas in their lives, and when they understand the ways companies develop energy responsibly, their support increases. In fact, a strong majority endorses increasing production on federal public lands.”

Sixty-five percent support increasing oil and natural gas production on non-park, non-wilderness federal lands, while only 29 percent opposed production on public lands altogether. Oil and natural gas activity disturbs only about 0.07 percent of federal lands.

The survey shows positive attitudes toward regulations impacting industry and the process of fracking. The numerous regulations applied at both  federal and state levels on the oil and natural gas industry are largely viewed as effective, with 85 percent viewing them as protecting health and safety.

While fracking has received intense attention from environmental activists, the survey shows that when people understand what industry is doing to protect their safety and the environment, 63 percent support hydraulic fracturing. Only 14 percent are completely opposed.

“Fracking is generally viewed as safe once people understand it is not new. After all, it has been done on more than 1.2 million wells during the past 60 years,” Wigley added. “This week, we are taking the message to D.C. lawmakers that there is strong support among voters, despite overstated opposition and exaggeration from environmental groups.”

A summary of key findings and full results of voters’ views on oil and natural gas development are available online.

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Note to Washington reporters

If you are interested in receiving a briefing on this survey or oil and natural gas-related topics, Western Energy Alliance members will be in D.C. and available to meet April 29th – May 1st.

About Western Energy Alliance

Western Energy Alliance, founded in 1974 as the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, is a non-profit trade association representing more than 480 companies engaged in all aspects of environmentally responsible exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the West.  More information about Western Energy Alliance is available at www.westernenergyalliance.org