The Edmond Sun

June 25, 2013

Obama warns Keystone XL must meet U.S. interests

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — The proposed Keystone XL pipeline’s impact on the nation’s climate will determine whether President Obama allows the project to move forward, Obama said Tuesday. Obama made it clear that only U.S. interests will determine the pipeline’s fate.

“Our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” Obama said.

The $5.3 billion pipeline will improve job growth in Oklahoma and the Great Plains region, according to Gov. Mary Fallin’s office. More than 1,200 jobs would be created in Oklahoma with the pipeline, Fallin said.

Approving the pipeline would move more than 800,000 barrels of heavy crude oil each day from Alberta tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries.

A review process by the U.S. Department of State is in the final stages, Obama said. In March, the State Department revised an environmental impact statement for the 875-mile Keystone XL pipeline.

The preliminary report contains no conclusive environmental reason for the pipeline not to be built, said Congressman James Lankford, R-Edmond.

“Even as we are producing more domestic oil, we’re also producing more cleaner burning natural gas than any country on earth,” Obama said. “And again sometimes there are disputes about natural gas. But let me say this; we should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer.”

Natural gas reduces carbon emissions while providing a cheap source of power, Obama said.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman had spoken against constructing the pipeline over the Ogallala Aquifer. But Lankford pointed out that Heineman has since reached an agreement with TransCanada regarding the location of the pipeline within Nebraska.

Earlier this year, Lankford said people from the United States want largely long-term job growth in a stable economy free of unnecessary federal regulations choking business.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt joined attorney generals from three other states Tuesday in urging Obama to choose jobs and not overregulation.

Pruitt was joined by Attorney Generals Luther Strange of Alabama, Tim Fox of Montana and Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, in urging Obama to jump-start the Keystone XL Pipeline for sustained economic growth.

“This president’s unprecedented use of the Environmental Protection Agency to enact overreaching regulations and circumvent state primacy has prompted our fellow Republican attorneys general to fight back at full force, and we plan to continue,” noted Pruitt, Strange, Fox and Morrisey. | 341-2121