Fallin chides Obama, Pinnell and Lockhart see Keystone XL announcement differently

The White House today (Wednesday, March 21) released a “fact sheet” focused on the Obama administration’s declared “commitment to American made energy.”

A three-page document sent to reporters nationwide, including CapitolBeatOK, seemed focused on the first two stops (Nevada and New Mexico) of the president’s two-day trip.

This afternoon, the administration’s intentions to promote the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline (from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf coast) drew restrained applause from Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a pointed jab from the Oklahoma Republican chairman, and restrained applause from a rural Democrat in the Legislature.

Gov. Fallin, on a long-planned family vacation, is not in the state as President Barack Obama prepares to arrive tonight (Wednesday, May 21) for the third stop on his “all-of-the-above” energy policy tour of four states. 

The Sooner State’s chief executive sent CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations a statement about the pending visit, saying she was glad he was coming to Oklahoma “to personally see the good work going on in Cushing. The TransCanada pipeline to be built there will connect Oklahoma to oil markets on the Gulf Coast, resulting in the creation of more than 1,000 Oklahoma jobs. This project will help to bolster our energy industry and security for years to come. 

“I am glad the president supports the construction of the pipeline connecting Cushing to the Gulf. Impeding the progress of something which is so obviously beneficial to both the economy and the energy security of the United States would have been nothing short of irresponsible.

“Unfortunately, President Obama and his administration are practicing exactly this kind of obstructionism on the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried oil from the Canadian oil sands and several U.S. markets to Cushing.  
As a result, the United States must go without the hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that would have otherwise been available to stimulate our economy. Just as importantly, the administration’s decision undermines U.S. energy security and alienates our closest trading partner, Canada.

“I hope that while President Obama is in Oklahoma he takes some time to listen to our citizens, many of whom work for the energy industry which he claims to support. I think they will tell him that – far from supporting the responsible domestic production of American-made energy – his administration has undermined it at every turn. Rather than embracing the truly remarkable technological breakthroughs that have resulted in the discovery of an additional 100-year supply of natural gas, the president and the EPA continue their hostility to basic and time-tested practices like hydraulic fracturing.

“The president and his party in Washington continue to support an aggressively anti-energy agenda that will severely hamper the American economy and put the United States at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the world.
“In Oklahoma, we recognize that the energy industry is an important ally in job creation and economic development. We believe that American energy is a resource, not a hazardous waste. My great hope is that some of that attitude will rub off on our president, who has lost his way on energy policy and so many other issues.”

Republican state party chairman Matt Pinnell also commented on Obama’s  visit, saying it was “nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to cover up his massive failures on gas prices and energy security. Oklahomans are feeling the pain at the pump, and they are rightfully angry at the Obama administration.  But what does the president offer?  Nothing more than a speech filled with pathetic excuses.” 

Assailing the “all of the above” policy the president is promoting, Pinnell said Obama “selfishly blocked the Keystone XL energy pipeline and the affordable energy and thousands of jobs that go with it just to please special interest groups.  Now, he is trying to have it both ways by pretending he supports Keystone.”

State Rep. James Lockhart, a Heavener Democrat, applauded the White House moves to allow construction and operation of the Keystone pipeline south to the Gulf of Mexico. The administration had stopped work on a Canada to the Gulf pipeline to pass through, but announced support for the southern leg two weeks ago.

The construction from Cushing to the Gulf (at Nederland, Texas), he said, will create 20,000 direct jobs and 118,000 related jobs, 1,000 of them in Oklahoma. 

In his comments sent to CapitolBeatOK, Lockhart said, “Oklahoma small business owners make compromises each day; they struggle with excessive fuel cost which drives up the overall cost for doing business. I support Oklahoma small business owners who make these compromises each day and I think Congress would bode well to do the same.

“I sent a letter to President Obama in support of the Keystone Pipeline. I believe the positive economic impact that this project will provide greatly outweighs the concerns of the State Department and I hope they will ultimately support construction of the entire project. This pipeline is a vital portion of our national security and our economic recovery.”