Public Attitudes Toward Natural Gas and Interstate Pipelines

Among the major sources of energy used in the United States, natural gas enjoys an outstanding image. Compared to oil, coal, and nuclear power, it is considered to be the safest to use, the best for the environment, the most acceptable for widespread use, (he most economical, and responsible for the fewest deaths over the last several years. More-over, the image of natural gas has been improving in most of these areas since 1985. Natural gas is also one of the major natural resources that Americans believe we are least likely to run out of.

Among those who use natural gas in their home, inore than three-quarters are very satisified with it, and an additional 1 in 5 are somewhat satisfied; merely 2% are unsatisfied. Even among those who do not currently use natural gas, a plurality say they would like to have natural gas service at home.

As a fuel, natural gas has a far better image in every respect than oil. But when it comes to delivery systems for oil and natural gas, the public draws little distinction between the two. Both are considered safe for the health and safety of the public and for the environment. And as a result, there is little opposition to having either a natural gas or oil pipeline "in the neighborhood," and even less "in the area"

Of course, it remains possible .that in some communities even a small number of vocal opponents could potentially impede the construction of long-distance, interstate natural gas pipelines. Yet this survey shows that in most communities, opposition groups would not be expected to enjoy a substantial following.

Indeed, Americans overwhelmingly approve of natural gas-particularly when compared to the alternatives, all of which are considered more harmful than natural gas to the environment and to public safety.

On the basis of this survey, it would appeax that natural gas enjoys a long and bright future in the United States.