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In Oklahoma, Obama pledges support for Cushing-to-Texas portion of pipeline

In Oklahoma, President Barack Obama touted his administration's “all-of-the-above” energy strategy and promised to speed up approval of the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline at a stop near Cushing.
by Adam Wilmoth Modified: March 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm •  Published: March 22, 2012

To hear the commitment on the Keystone pipeline going south and the hope that we will soon have something going north is very positive,” he said. “We also heard about wind energy. Anything we can do to expand the energy policy is good for Oklahomans.”

Message doesn't

impress Republicans

The state's Republican leaders, however, had a different reaction.

Gov. Mary Fallin praised the president for what he said to support domestic oil production. But she said the administration's policies over the past three years have not supported that message.

“The fact of the matter is President Barack Obama's rhetoric is matched with a policy record that is aggressively anti-energy and continues to stifle economic growth in Oklahoma and throughout the nation,” Fallin said in a statement Thursday. “The president urgently needs to re-examine his policies, not deliver more speeches taking credit for the accomplishments of others.”

U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, who represents Cushing, praised the president for visiting the state and for his discussion on domestic energy. But he was not impressed with the content of Obama's message.

“The president announced that he will expedite permits to build a portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Cushing to the Texas Gulf Coast,” Lucas said. “While this sounds encouraging, his approval of this leg of the project is not required. In fact, the Army Corps of Engineers hands out around 90,000 similar permits each year. The president is trying to take credit for a project he has actually rejected twice, and I believe his trip is nothing more than a campaign stop.”

‘A lot of tangible good' in Obama's remarks

Former state Treasurer Scott Meacham, however, said the president's endorsement of the southern line will help the construction project begin more quickly.

“I think obviously there are things this administration can do to make things move more quickly,” said Meacham, who was in attendance for the speech. “One of the holdups now is that they have to go through some Army Corps of Engineers property, and that is going slowly. The president has the ability to expedite that. I think there's a lot of tangible good in what the president did today.”

by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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