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.”