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Obama Argues For “All The Above” Energy Policy in Cushing

Filed by KOSU News in Business, Feature, Local News, Politics.
March 22, 2012

Earlier, I detailed why Cushing matters.

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Overwhelming pipes stacked on top of each other like some kind ruined game of pick up sticks as President Obama stopped in Cushing, part of his energy tour through the country. A small crowd of about a hundred huddled in between the pipes, for the short speech from the President. He used the opportunity to counter his critics…

Late last year, the Obama administration delayed a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. It would cross the US – Canada border, bringing hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil into Cushing. Republican critics pounced, saying he’s costing the state and the country jobs.

“So today I’ve come to Cushing, the oil capital of the country.”

He didn’t make the trip to the small town, where the population could probably fit in a couple oil tanks to just offer talking points though. Instead, President Obama announced a plan to get the problem at Cushing under control.

“And today I’m 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.”

That means approving the southern part of Keystone XL, from Cushing to refineries in Texas. That, along with the coming reversal of the Seaway pipeline could at least keep those tanks from overfilling.  Tanks are sprouting from the ground as oil companies scramble to increase capacity there, and that’s oil that should be going into people’s cars.

“This will really help the market in having this bottleneck somewhat resolved by having both of these pipelines out there.”

Rayola Dougher is a senior economic adviser at the American Petroleum Institute, a Washington based industry group. She says the move could bring gas prices down because it’s introducing a whole new supply to the market. Even so, some at the speech only gave it tepid applause…

“I’m hoping he eventually approves the Keystone XL pipeline and I think he will. He’s waiting to see that second proposal to come in. And sure he will, he sees all this pipe out here, he’s got to approve it. It’s 42 miles of pipe.”

Marilyn Duff isn’t an Obama supporter. Her main focus is oil. After all, she’s a resident of Cushing.

Salar Faizai already knows whose getting a check on his November ballot – President Obama. But he knows enough to see why the President is fast-tracking the lower part of Keystone XL.

“It’s kinda hard to win over this state with the views of the past, but I think it’s good that he’s making an effort. I think people will respect that.”

Faizai, from Oklahoma City, sported a sharp blazer and a smile when asked about the President.

“I’m particularly for alternative energy, but I think for the president. I know it’s limited resources and everything like that, but for the President I think it’s something we need to do.”

In other words, it’s politics. And that’s the thing. Even with the announcement, the President got respectful applause, but never overwhelming. There were the occasional outbursts, including someone who yelled out “I love you Mr. President” as he took the stage, but those were the outliers.

Take one of the volunteers, Nathan Cochran. When I asked him who he supported, he whipped out a wry grin.

“Let’s just say I love seeing the President of the United States here today.”

President Obama didn’t win a single county in Oklahoma in 2008, and he aimed the speech beyond the so called reddest state in the country. There wasn’t a single mention of natural gas in the state home to two companies sending lots of money after that resource.  After proclaiming the permitting process will be as quick as possible for the oil pipeline, he pivoted…

“If I put a oil rig on the South Lawn, if we had one right next to the Washington Monument, even if we drilled every little bit of this great country of ours, we’d still have to buy the rest of our needs from someplace else if we keep on using the same amount of energy, the same amount of oil.”

So in what he called the oil capital of the country, he started listing off other options.

“Producing more biofuels, which can be great for our farmers and great for rural economies. It means more fuel efficient cars. It means more solar power. It means more wind power.”

Again, natural gas got passed by. When so many people cash checks thanks to the resource, maybe tepid applause was all he could expect.


One Response to “Obama Argues For “All The Above” Energy Policy in Cushing”

  1. R D Harmony says:

    It's rather unbelievable that neither the governor nor the lt. governor could modify their schedules to be part of these events. Solving our various difficulties involves rural/urban–state/federal–the whole country working together, actually an 'all of the above' strategy. The treatment of President Obama, by GOPster partisans and particularly the Daily Oklahoman, has been absolutely shameful…the obvious absence of Fallin, classless, indeed.

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