Cushing — President Barack Obama was all about American energy when he stopped in Cushing Thursday.
The invitation-only crowd greeted the president with chants of “Four more years.” One woman yelled, “We love you.” Obama replied, “I love you back.”
The president wasted little time jumping into an outline of his “all-of-the-above” energy policy, which he said will keep America powered with a variety of energy sources, including fossil and bio fuels, wind and solar.
“We want every source of American-made energy,” the president said.
Obama has drawn opposition for his decision to not approve a submitted plan for TransCanada to cross into the United States from Canada with a 36-inch pipeline to move crude across America.
The president Thursday in his 11-minute speech reiterated support for the southern leg of that pipeline project — from Cushing to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico.
“Today, I am directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles and make this project a priority to go ahead and get it done,” Obama said to cheers.
The president said he wasn’t ready to offer the same support to the northern leg, at this point. But he hadn’t ruled it out, and instead simply wanted more time to review a route that would address concerns of Nebraska’s governor and not threaten groundwater.
“We’re happy to review future permits,” Obama said, “and today we’re making this new pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf a priority. ... The fact is that my administration has approved dozens of new oil and gas pipelines over the last three years – including one from Canada. And, as long as I’m president, we’re going to keep encouraging oil development and infrastructure and we’re going to do it in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people. We don’t have to choose between one or the other. We can do both.”
Protesters assembling for Obama’s visit lobbied both sides of the issue. While one group pushed for the Keystone XL’s northern leg to move forward, another opposed the pipeline, saying it threatened Native American sacred sites and the environment.
More from the president’s Cushing speech:
“Anybody who suggests we’re suppressing domestic oil production isn’t paying attention. They are not paying attention.
“Anybody who says just drilling more gas and more oil by itself will bring down gas prices tomorrow or the next day or even next year, they’re also not paying attention. They’re not playing it straight, because we are drilling more, we are producing more, but the fact is producing more oil at home isn’t enough by itself to bring gas prices down.
“The reason is we have an oil market that is global – that is worldwide. I’ve been saying for the last few weeks … we use 20 percent of the world’s oil – we only produce 2 percent of the world’s oil.”