Public Support

CheckmarkAcross the country, voters have favorable views of how oil and natural gas is produced and they strongly support increasing domestic development, including on federally managed public lands.

Each year, Western Energy Alliance commissions a national survey to gauge views and to analyze trends in public opinion on domestic energy development. The 2015 survey of 1,000 registered voters nationwide shows strong public support for a greater state role in energy regulation including hydraulic fracturing, development on public lands, wildlife conservation, and managing endangered species. The public understands that states are better equipped and have greater knowledge about their local conditions than the federal government.

The survey also shows strong support across the political spectrum for Congress to lift the 1970’s era crude oil export ban. Support increases when voters learn that lifting the ban would help allied nations and provide estimated annual household savings of $391.

Key findings from the survey include:

State Role in Regulating IndustryFederal Overreach

  • 77% support giving states complete or shared authority with the federal government in managing and regulating activities on public lands within their borders.
  • A combined 62% prefer state and local governments as the prime authority for energy development on public lands because they are flexible and adapt to local conditions. Only 34% preferred the federal government.

State Role in Wildlife Conservation


  • 73% favor state agencies to manage wildlife within their boundaries.
  • 79% support updating and modernizing the Endangered Species Act to give states more control over the management and recovery of wildlife within their states.

Overturning Export Ban

  • 57% of likely voters agreed Congress should overturn the 1975 crude oil export ban.
  • Majority support exists for reversing the export ban across political parties, with 65% among Republicans and 51% among both Democrats and Independents.

Export Support

For additional insights, a summary and full results of voters’ views on oil and natural gas development are available.