A ‘thin green line’ of resistance? Assessing public views on oil, natural gas, and coal export in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and Canada"
This work is a chapter in the book Public Responses to Fossil Fuel Export: Exporting Energy and Emissions in a Time of Transition.
Coastal and waterway communities in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and Canada have increasingly faced proposals to build or expand infrastructure facilitating the movement of fossil fuels. Simultaneously, a growing social movement seeks to block such infrastructure. To investigate public views on fossil fuel export expansions in the Pacific Northwest, we use a 2019 quota survey (n = 1500). We examine the relative level of support for expanded oil, natural gas, and coal export and assess what factors help predict these views. We also assess the perceived benefits and risks of expanded fossil fuel export, as well as risk perceptions related to different modes of transportation, including train, ship, and pipeline. While a majority of respondents were opposed to oil and coal export, just 39% were opposed to natural gas export. We find being male, politically conservative, skeptical of anthropogenic climate change, and more familiar with fossil fuel export to be significant predictors of support. We also find that respondents who feel fossil fuels are important to the local economy, as well as respondents from British Columbia, are more supportive of fossil fuel export.