A poll sponsored by a coalition that supports infrastructure projects found that nearly 70 percent of North Dakotans are in favor of a project that would double the capacity of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Craig Stevens, spokesman for Grow America’s Infrastructure Now, said the poll was a good reminder to state regulators about how popular the pipeline project is in North Dakota. The Public Service Commission is going to consider the optimization project on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

“There is strong support for the industry and the project,” Stevens told the Williston Herald.

The survey found that 95 percent of North Dakotans believe the oil industry is important to the state’s economy and 93 percent believe it is important that the United States produce its own energy and become energy independent.

In a news release, the group wrote that two-thirds of North Dakotans believe the Dakota Access Pipeline helps provide millions of tax dollars that benefit local communities’ schools, first responders, and social services.

The project proposed by Energy Transfer, which is the pipeline’s developer, would include the construction of three new pump stations — one each in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois. The maximum operating pressure will not change, and no new pipe will be required. If approved, the pipeline would be able to carry 1.1 million barrels per day of oil.

Regulators in South Dakota have already OK’d the project.

“The findings from this poll are clear and positive. Not only do 95% of residents find the industry important to the state economy but, on a bipartisan basis residents feel pipelines in general, and the Dakota Access Pipeline in particular, is the safest way to transport oil across their state,” said pollster Micah Roberts, Partner at Public Opinion Strategies, who conducted the poll on behalf of the GAIN Coalition. “Fully 77% of residents say it is important to them that oil is transported by pipeline and 79% agree that the Dakota Access Pipeline is providing a safer means of transportation than truck or rail. From safety to economic benefits, the polling shows the vast majority of North Dakotans support the industry and are in favor of increasing DAPL’s capacity.”

Stevens said he would be in North Dakota for Wednesday’s hearing and the group would have fact-checkers on hand, as well.

He said there has been an uptick nationwide in protests about infrastructure projects and the group wants regulators to understand how important the optimization project is to the industry.

The telephone survey was conducted of 600 adults in North Dakota from Nove. 1-4 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent and was sponsored by the GAIN Coalition.

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