President Barack Obama to propose speeding Cushing-to-Texas pipeline permits

In a speech in Oklahoma on Thursday, the president is expected to announce streamlined permitting for TransCanada's pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, but there was some confusion Wednesday about what permits are pending.
by Chris Casteel Published: March 22, 2012

Obama embarked Wednesday on a four-state energy tour that took him first to a solar facility in Nevada, where he said, “So as long as I'm president, we're going to develop every available source of energy.”

The president said that “an energy strategy that focuses only on drilling and not on an energy strategy that will free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil — that's a losing strategy. That's not a strategy I'm going to pursue.”

Obama headed from Nevada to an oil field on federal land in New Mexico. After his remarks in Oklahoma on Thursday, he is scheduled to travel to Ohio State University to talk about energy research.

In Washington on Wednesday, Republicans derided the president's energy tour.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said, “Unfortunately, we know President Barack Obama's Oklahoma trip is little more than a campaign stop in an attempt to salvage his dismal energy record, as skyrocketing gas prices — which his policies are expressly designed to create — threaten his job. We know that President Barack Obama still thinks that oil and gas are the fuels of the past, as does the ‘green team' he surrounds himself with.”

House Speaker John Boehner's office said the president “has consistently thrown up roadblocks to American energy production.”

The president's expected announcement drew fire from environmental groups, who accused Obama of rushing the pipeline review.

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director of the International Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “The nation deserves an energy policy that meets our needs, but not at the expense of our climate, air and water. It is downright foolhardy to cut corners on safety reviews for permitting the southern segment of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline — especially when the industry has a history of oil spills. We already know from experience that tar sands oil is more likely to spill and harder to clean up once it spills. The people of Oklahoma, Texas and the rest of the country deserve better.”

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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