Before a crowd in Cushing, OK, President Obama highlighted his energy policy and touted his administration's “approval” for a section of the Keystone XL pipeline that will connect oil fields in that state with refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, CSPAN reports.
The word “approval” is in quotation marks because, as critics point out, the president plays no role in the construction of the new pipeline. It doesn't matter if he "approves" or not. Let us explain.
“President Obama claiming credit for speeding up the Keystone pipeline is like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet,” said Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK). “It is claiming credit where credit isn't due."
Sullivan explains the president only has the authority to block lines that run internationally. Therefore, because it doesn’t cross international borders, the so-called Cushing pipeline doesn’t require the president’s approval. In fact, as Sullivan notes, President Obama personally lobbied Congress to vote against the pipeline.
Now he's taking credit?
“Under my Administration,” the president said, “America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. Over the last three years, I’ve directed my Administration to open up millions of acres for oil and gas exploration across 23 different states. We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.”
“And we’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some,” the president added.
He continued [emphasis added]:
So we’re drilling all over the place right now. That’s not the problem. In fact, the problem in a place like Cushing is that we’re actually producing so much oil in places like North Dakota and Colorado that we don’t have enough pipeline capacity to transport it all where it needs to go. There’s a bottleneck here because we can’t get all of our oil to our refineries fast enough. If we could, it would help us increase our oil supplies at a time where we need as much as possible.
Watch the president's comments (via Town Hall):
The president took the opportunity to address critics who attacked him for rejecting the original Keystone proposal, saying members of Congress "thought that this might be a fun political issue." The president defended his decision by saying his administration required more time to “study the effects of the pipeline on the water supply.”
“[A]nyone who says that we’re somehow suppressing domestic oil production isn’t paying attention,” the president said.
“And anyone who says that just drilling more will bring gas prices down just isn’t playing it straight. We are drilling more. We are producing more. But the fact is, producing more oil at home isn’t enough to bring gas prices down overnight.”
(H/T: Town Hall)