Controversial pipeline, other environmental issues get little attention at GOP presidential primary debate

The first 2016 GOP presidential debate was held Aug. 6 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, and only two candidates brought up the oil and gas industry during the debates.

The debate featured the 10 leading GOP hopefuls, based on current nationwide polls: real estate mogul Donald Trump; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The debate was hosted by FOX News and candidates fielded questions from three moderators from the news channel.

Related: Blog: Gas and Oil Fuel North Dakota’s Rise

Bush – son of President George H.W. Bush and brother of President George W. Bush – said boosting the economy would mean supporting the oil and gas “revolution” and approving the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S.

Bush was asked about his economic plan by the moderators and he framed approving the pipeline as part of his economic plan if elected president.

Bush was the only candidate to raise the Keystone XL project during the second debate, while Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, was the only candidate to mention it during the earlier debate among seven of the second-tier Republicans running for president.

Related: Editor's Notebook: Shifting Focus

Graham said during her debate that Clinton is “not going to build the Keystone pipeline. I will.”

Other than those mentions, there was very little attention paid to environmental issues at the first Republican primary debate.

The next Republican primary debate will be held Sept. 16 in Simi Valley, California, and is sponsored by the Reagan Library Foundation, CNN and the Salem Media Group. It will be aired on CNN.

Related: Editor's Notebook: Big Gains on the Big Stage

The first Democratic primary debate will be held Oct. 13 in Nevada and aired on CNN. The debate is sponsored by CNN and the Nevada Democratic Party.

Related Stories