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National poll: Opposition to fracking up; less than half know domestic energy production is up

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Bakken Dickinson,North Dakota 58602
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National poll: Opposition to fracking up; less than half know domestic energy production is up
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

More than half of Americans don't know the recent oil boom has increased domestic energy production, according to a new poll, which also showed increased opposition to fracking.


Less than half of respondents to the national Pew Research Center poll -- 48 percent -- correctly said U.S. energy production has increased in recent years.

That stuck out to North Dakota Petroleum Council spokeswoman Tessa Sandstrom.

"That's pretty interesting, especially considering the amount of attention the Bakken and North Dakota does get," she said.

Pew research associate Alec Tyson also found that statistic interesting, and said it may be because for many, energy news just isn't part of their "day-to-day knowledge."

Or maybe it's a sign of a bigger problem.

"People really take for granted energy," said Vicky Steiner, executive director of the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties.

"They don't really understand how the lights come on. ... People don't really understand that someone has to go get that energy and bring it to market."

The poll also found that from March to September, opposition to the increased use of fracking grew, from 38 to 49 percent.

"It is surprising," Steiner said.

"It seems like there's more information out there about hydraulic fracturing. I would've thought it would've gone the other way."

Sandstrom pointed to the council's own poll of North Dakotans, which showed the percentage of respondents who expressed concern for fracking decreased from 2011 to 2012, to 30 percent.

The biggest concerns from that survey were ones felt close to home -- truck traffic and the cost of housing.

Another significant find in the Pew study is that Americans continue to support the Keystone XL Pipeline, which just passed its five-year anniversary of awaiting approval.

"Even among Democrats, there's more support," Tyson said, "which is kind of notable."

Katherine Lymn
(701) 456-1211