/articleid/3659822/1/pictures/1675203"> President Barack Obama greets military and civilian personal from Tinker Air Force Base after exiting Air Force One at Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City, Wednesday, March 21, 2012. President Obama is in town for a visit to Cushing, Okla., on Thursday. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
The directive would also apply to other pipelines that alleviate choke points.
“Anyone who says that we're somehow suppressing domestic oil production isn't paying attention,” Obama said, speaking at the site of the new Oklahoma project.
Republicans said the moves were little more than a publicity stunt, arguing that it wouldn't help Canadian company TransCanada build the pipeline any sooner. Construction is expected to begin in June with completion next year. Some environmental groups, meanwhile, accused the president of caving to oil interests and warned it could lead to more oil spills.
Obama's 2-day trip highlighting his energy agenda in Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and later in battleground Ohio reflected the degree to which high gas prices have begun hitting consumers in their pocketbooks.