[Marxism] Dog bites man

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Mar 21 07:06:43 MDT 2012


Keystone XL pipeline: Obama to oil progress as pump prices rise

On two-day energy tour, US president is expected to hasten 
building of southern section of tar sands line out of Canada

by Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent

A protester objects to the Keystone XL pipeline
An environmental protester in Omaha, Nebraska, shows her 
opposition to the pipeline. Photograph: Nati Harnik/AP

Barack Obama is expected to speed up approval of the Keystone XL 
tar sands pipeline on Thursday after taking to the road with what 
the White House is billing as an "all of the above" energy tour.

Obama's planned visit to the oil hub of Cushing, Oklahoma, on day 
two of the energy tour has raised expectations he will speed up 
approval of the southern US-only segment of the pipeline, running 
from the town to Port Arthur, Texas.

The approval, which would infuriate environmental groups, could 
allow construction on that portion to begin before November's 
presidential elections instead of next year.

Obama's tour starts with a visit to the country's biggest 
operating solar farm in Boulder City, Nevada. The White House said 
in a statement: "The president will highlight his administration's 
focus on diversifying our energy portfolio, including expanding 
renewable energy from sources like wind and solar, which thanks in 
part to investments made by this administration is set to double 
in the president's first term."

But the visit seemed a detour on a trip apparently solidly focused 
on fossil fuels and the price of gas at the pump.

Obama has been under nonstop attack from Republicans for rising 
petrol prices, which now stand at well over $4 (£2.50) for a US 
gallon in some parts of the country, and for his decision in 
January to halt the pipeline because of a section running through 
an ecologically sensitive part of Nebraska.

On the campaign trail, Newt Gingrich has said he would cut gas 
prices to $2.50 if he is elected president, and Mitt Romney has 
taken to demanding Obama sack his energy secretary, Steven Chu, 
the interior secretary, Ken Salazar, and his Environmental 
Protection Agency administrator, Lisa Jackson. Gingrich calls the 
three the "gas hike trio".

But Obama's forthcoming speech at a pipe yard owned by 
TransCanada, the Canadian company behind the project to pump crude 
from the tar sands of Alberta, was seen as a strong signal that 
the pipeline – at least, the portion running from Cushing to Port 
Arthur, Texas – is back on track.

The White House said last month it would allow the southern 
portion, which requires no State Department approval, to go ahead. 
It was not immediately clear how Obama would push the process 
along further.

TransCanada has said it will go ahead with the Cushing-Port Arthur 
segment of the pipeline as soon it gets the go-ahead from the army 
corps of engineers.

The White House said in a statement Obama's visiting Cushing was 
intended to show his commitment to "improving and supporting the 
infrastructure that helps us leverage our domestic resources, 
while also ensuring these projects are developed in a safe and 
responsible way".

It continued: "This includes a pipeline that will transport oil 
from Cushing to the Gulf of Mexico, which will help address the 
bottleneck of oil that has resulted in large part from increased 
domestic oil production in the midwest."

Fast-tracking a portion of the pipeline would be a huge 
disappointment for a broad coalition of activists who have 
campaigned against the project, framing it as a test of Obama's 
green credentials.

But Obama has come under even greater pressure from Republicans 
and some Democrats to approve the pipeline, and lower gas prices.

The schedule for the two-day energy roadshow exhibits those 
competing pressures. From his first stop at the solar facility in 
Nevada, which produces enough power for 17,000 homes, Obama is due 
to head to the oil and gas fields of New Mexico.

While there, he is expected to talk up the expansion of domestic 
oil and gas production during his time at the White House. In 
recent days, administration officials have been touting the 
expansion of domestic oil and gas production over the last few 
years. Much of that expansion is due to fracking, in another 
disappointment for environmental groups.

After his stop in Oklahoma, Obama is expected to end his trip with 
a speech on conservation at Ohio State University in Columbus.

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