March 23, 2012 by staff
Obama Keystone, President Obama traveled to one of the nation’s oil transportation hubs, offering what administration officials hope voters will see as a centrist alternative to the polarized debate over the Keystone XL pipeline — and quickly drew fire from activists on both sides.
Earlier this year, Obama deferred the building of a pipeline from Canada’s tar sands to the Gulf Coast through environmentally sensitive parts of the Midwest. On Thursday, he said his administration would expedite construction of the southern part of the route, starting in Cushing, Okla.
Obama has tried to strike a middle position on energy issues between Republican advocates of stepped-up drilling and environmentalists who push for a fast switch from fossil fuels to alternative sources of energy. His administration’s policy is “all of the above,” Obama often says, backing oil production, alternative energy and increased efficiency.
That stance has opened him to attack from both sides, as was quickly apparent with the announcement that the administration would treat the route from Cushing to Port Arthur, Texas, as a “national priority.”
“Today I’ve come to Cushing, an oil town, because producing more oil and gas here at home has been and will continue to be a critical part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy,” Obama said, speaking to a crowd of pipe workers, residents and officials from TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline.
A new pipeline running south from Cushing is needed because “there’s a bottleneck right here because we can’t get enough of the oil to our refineries fast enough,” he said, taking credit for an upturn in domestic oil production which has the industry pumping more than at any time in the last eight years.
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