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Obama puts the Keystone Pipeline on a fast track

A pipeline brings oil to a refinery.
A pipeline brings oil to a refinery.
rcbodden (cc by-nc-nd)

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The president promised that he would expedite the federal permitting process for the southern part of the line, which extends from Cushing, OK, to the Gulf of Mexico. In January, President Obama denied approval for the northern segment of the pipeline, a decision which environmentalists hoped might indicate a policy shift, but the president’s newest words on the subject leave many to feel that the victory was short-lived.

In visiting the swing states of Nevada, New Mexico, and Oklahoma this week, President Obama delivered one overall message: when it comes to exploring energy resources, his answer will be “all of the above.” Besides talking about solar energy and domestic gas production, the president made it clear that the Keystone Pipeline – a proposed pathway for Canadian crude oil to be delivered to multiple U.S. destinations – is still very much on the table.

Democrats and Republicans alike decry President Obama’s newest announcement as pandering; Republicans because it won’t shorten the timeline for the southern part of the pipeline and has a smaller overall effect than his initial denial, Democrats because they’re worried the president might lose support from his base by backing policies not in the environment’s best interest. Environmentalists and Republicans seem to be in agreement on one thing: it’s all for the sake of bettering the president’s image when it comes to rising gas prices.


Do you think the president has been consistent in his approach to the United States’ energy strategy? To the environment? Will this latest “energy tour” hurt him or help him at the polls?


Marty Durbin, executive vice president, American Petroleum Institute

Noah Greenwald, program director, Center for Biological Diversity

Hans Nichols, White House reporter, Bloomberg News