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Lugar to Obama: "The Battle is Not Over"


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Today, U.S. Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) reiterated his commitment to approve the Keystone XL pipeline despite President Obama's rejection of the project.

"The battle is not over," Lugar said. "If we do not take the strategic action of approving Keystone XL now, we are going to be in trouble not only this year but for many years to come. We have to get that through our heads. Likewise, the issue is jobs in America. Jobs -- that's what I hear from all of my constituents. I have visited several plants in Indiana that are producing now, prospectively, orders for the pipeline. These jobs are not in the hereafter, they are for Hoosiers now," Lugar said.

Lugar called again for the President to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. "At some point we are going to pass our legislation which says "The pipeline will be built, President or not, State Department or not.' The American people want it and our security demands it," he said.

Lugar's comments came as part of a press conference with cosponsors of the Hoeven-Lugar-Vitter Keystone XL legislation.

A video of Lugar's comments is available on YouTube.

"President Obama's public relations exercise in Cushing, Oklahoma does nothing to change the fact that he is blocking the vital Keystone XL project that would reduce our dependence on hostile oil producers and create thousands of private sector jobs at no taxpayer expense. This incomprehensible obstructionism by the President will weaken our economy and our security," Lugar said in prepared remarks.

"I'm glad that President Obama went to Cushing to see the mess he has in part caused. If the Obama Administration had acted on Keystone XL within a reasonable time frame to approve the application, then it most likely would already be delivering surplus oil supplies from Cushing to Gulf Coast refineries and would soon be delivering Canadian and U.S. Bakken oil to American motorists.

"The hypocrisy is palpable in President Obama's energy rhetoric. The President says pipeline infrastructure is critical, but he personally lobbies against Keystone XL. He claims to embrace domestic oil production, but he has cut oil leasing availability by 50 percent. He bemoans high gas prices, but his EPA is forcing costly regulation to drive prices higher.

"Oil markets are in a precarious position with almost no near-term cushion left in the system. Continued oil market strain is expected as we tighten vitally important sanctions on Iran's oil sector in an effort to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program. This strain could reach emergency levels if Iran strikes the Strait of Hormuz. Saudi Arabia has only about 1.4 million barrels more capacity in the near future, so going hat-in-hand to Riyadh is not an effective strategy."

Lugar is a principle author of legislation that would override President Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Hoeven-Lugar-Vitter text received a strong bipartisan majority of 56 votes in the Senate.

Lugar's Practical Energy Plan, S.1321, is the most aggressive "all-of-the-above' energy bill currently introduced in the Senate. It would enable more domestic oil production, more alternative fuels from biomass and coal, and more automotive efficiency through innovation. According to independent analysis it would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil by 6.3 million barrels per day, or more than two-thirds of current levels.

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