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Gallup: “Solid Majority Of Americans” Want Keystone XL Pipeline; Obama Tries To Claim Credit For Part Despite His Opposition

March 22nd, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

Today, President Obama spoke at a pipe yard in Cushing, Oklahoma, where the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline will begin, part of what The Washington Post describes as “a concerted effort to turn political weakness into strength on two critical election-year issues that have become big vulnerabilities for President Obama: rising gas prices and the controversial health-care law.” Unfortunately, it’s just more talk, as Obama’s energy policies continue to make things worse.

Bloomberg News writes, “President Barack Obama’s promise to expedite review of the southern leg of TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline won’t speed up the timeline for the project, which already is slated to start construction as soon as June. TransCanada is awaiting permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the last it needs to begin construction on the phase of the pipeline that will carry crude from the oil storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma, to Gulf Coast refineries, Terry Cunha, a spokesman for the Calgary-based company, said in an e-mail message yesterday. ‘We expect to receive the permits in time to begin construction in 2012 and be operational in 2013,’ he said.”

The Bloomberg story explains, “Obama in January denied a permit for the Keystone XL to bring oil-sands crude from Canada to the Texas coast, citing environmental concerns. TransCanada announced plans Feb. 27 to proceed with just the Cushing-to-Gulf segment of the pipeline. The project is expected to ease a supply bottleneck in Oklahoma by eventually bringing as much as 830,000 barrels of oil a day to Texas refineries. Since the Cushing phase doesn’t cross an international border, it doesn’t require permission from the U.S. Department of State and president, as the full project did. Nonetheless, the Obama administration immediately endorsed TransCanada’s Cushing plan and released a statement in February saying the White House will ‘take every step possible to expedite the necessary federal permits.’ Obama’s new designation of the pipeline as an infrastructure priority was dismissed by Republicans as political window dressing on a project that’s already well under way to deflect criticism Obama has received for refusing to approve the northern segment of TransCanada’s line.”

Indeed, Bloomberg notes, “Michael Brune, executive director of the San Francisco- based Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental group in the country, said the president’s decision to issue an executive order to speed up permitting for the southern portion of the Keystone pipeline ‘may have been a political calculation for the administration.’”

The White House is undoubtedly feeling pressure in the wake of the president’s rejection of the full Keystone XL pipeline, especially now given a new Gallup poll out today. Gallup finds, “A solid majority of Americans think the U.S. government should approve of building the Keystone XL pipeline . . . .” Fifty-seven percent of those polled say the government should approve the pipeline. Eighty-one percent of Republicans, 51% if independents, and even a plurality of Democrats agree that the pipeline should be approved.

Gallup goes on to note, “The pipeline would travel through the Midwest and the South, and Americans in those two regions are the most likely to approve of the project. Nearly 7 in 10 Midwesterners want the government to approve the building of the pipeline and 61% of those in the South do as well. There has been discussion in Washington and in the media about the potential new jobs the pipeline project would create, which may partly explain the higher support seen in those regions.” Further, Gallup writes, “Americans who say they are very closely following news about the Keystone XL pipeline overwhelmingly think the government should approve the building of it, 78% to 22%.”

So today, the president is going to attempt to take credit for a part of the pipeline that never required his approval and wasn’t really controversial in the first place. And yet he refused the permit for TransCanada to build the full pipeline, which would create tens of thousands of jobs, allow the United States to get more oil from our friends and allies in Canada, and get more oil from American oil fields in North Dakota to refineries. President Obama even personally lobbied Senate Democrats to reject a bill to authorize the full pipeline earlier this month. A “solid majority” of Americans support the full Keystone XL pipeline, as do labor unions, various Democrats, and even the president’s own jobs council.

Related:

After Obama “Personally Lobbie[s]” Democrats, Senate Dems Vote Down Keystone Pipeline Job

Obama’s Decision To Nix Keystone Pipeline Blasted By Newspapers, Dems, Labor Union

Editorials Castigate Obama”s Keystone Rejection As “The Most Craven Sort Of Election-Year Politics”

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