Obama promises speedy approval of southern leg of Keystone-XL pipe line
President Obama is on tour defending his energy policies against Republican attacks. They blame the president for high gas prices. Obama will argue that he is promoting projects that will help ease the crisis.
In Cushing Oklahoma on March 22nd he is expected to claim that he will expedite building of part of the projected Keystone XL pipeline from Cushing to Texas. Trans-Canada had already announced that they were going to speed up construction.
In January the president denied approval for the pipeline based partly on concerns by the state of Nebraska. But he invited Trans Canada to re-apply, an invitation Trans-Canada accepted. At the same time Trans-Canada said it would procede separately with the segment from Cushing to Texas.
On Feb. 27 the White House said that it would ""take every step possible to expedite the necessary federal permits."" Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn claimed the president's promise of fast-tracking permits was meaningless. The southern section is all in the U.S. and does not require presidential approval. Obama's strong support for this portion of the KeystoneXL pipe line is not likely to go down well with environmentalists and will be seen as meaningless by the Republicans. However, perhaps ordinary citizens may feel that he is tackling the high cost of fuel problem.
Obama notes that domestic oil and gas production has increased every year since he took office. Oil production is the highest in eight years and natural gas production at a historic high.
Many environmentalist are concerned about natural gas production using fracking. The health and environmental risks of the process are greatly under-estimated according to some analysts. See this article.
While environmentalists may applaud Obama for his emphasis upon alternative energy sources, at the same time they will be upset by the fact at the same time he is touting development of more oil fields and natural gas exploration that often involves fracking. For more see this article.