Energy and Commerce Committee leaders responded to President Obama's announcement today that he is taking action to speed construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. After allowing the project to languish for more than three years, the president is now trying to take undue credit for the fraction of the pipeline that will connect the storage hub at Cushing, OK to the refining center on the Texas Gulf Coast.
"First the President rejected the pipeline, and then he lobbied Congress against it. A quick stop in the heartland isn't fooling anyone--the President's record has already made it clear where he stands on the project," said Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). "If the President is serious about improving America's energy security, he should take action to approve the entire pipeline so we can bring much-needed Canadian oil to the U.S."
"The President endorsing the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is not enough, the President needs to allow the entire project to move forward," said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). "It's baffling that the President wants to build only a fraction of a pipeline that could have brought approximately one million barrels of oil per day to U.S. markets. If bringing secure Canadian oil supplies into the U.S. were truly a goal of this president, we would be celebrating the approval of a cross-border pipeline, a project that will also create 20,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs. At a time of high gasoline prices, the President needs to take actions that will actually increase oil supply, not just move existing oil supplies around."
"The American people are sick and tired of political games and photo op's, like what the President is doing in Cushing today. Until President Obama stops saying NO to the oil and gas resources in our own backyard, American taxpayers will continue to send $1 billion per day overseas for OPEC oil and we continue having to deal with unpredictable price hikes at the pump. Approving the full Keystone XL pipeline will open the doors to new oil markets in Canada, North Dakota, and Montana and allow us to use our own oil and gas to protect our energy security and create private sector American jobs," said Energy and Power Subcommittee Vice-Chairman John Sullivan (R-OK).
"The president can't be all things to all people, but he is certainly trying. Earlier this year, he energized environmentalists by denying the Keystone XL Pipeline permit and by calling oil "the fuel of the past.' Today, he is trying to win over Americans who want lower gas prices, by taking credit for increasing American oil production rates, and for expediting the southern section of the pipeline. Well, the president's 'say one thing and do another' game hasn't fooled anybody," said Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), author of House-passed legislation to require approval of the pipeline. "Modern America has energy problems. We're still reliant on an unreliable flow of increasingly expensive oil imports from unstable parts of the world, like Venezuela. Unfortunately, instead of putting together a national energy security plan, we've got a president more concerned with running for re-election. The president's self promotion and obstruction of tangible energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline aren't helping Americans one bit."