[Marxism] Dog bites man
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
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
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
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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