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Obama Mounts Defense of Energy Plan With Pipeline at Center
2012年3月22日 11:58  智信中國低碳投資  www.2706199.live  來源:網絡
 President Barack Obama is defending his energy policies amid criticism from Republicans by highlighting projects designed to increase U.S. supplies, including a pipeline that is part of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL.
 Speaking in front of a field of solar panels at the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility near Boulder City, Nevada, Obama said the U.S. must stay ahead of countries such as China and India in the development of alternative energy sources while increasing production of fossil fuels.
 “As long as I’m president, we will not walk away from the promise of clean energy,” he said.
 After stops in Nevada and New Mexico today, Obama tomorrow will use the backdrop of an oil-storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, to announce that the administration is making TransCanada’s pipeline from there to refineries on the Texas coast an infrastructure priority, according to a White House statement. That will qualify the project for accelerated review of permit applications under a previous executive order.
 Republicans dismissed the move on the pipeline as political window dressing on a project that is already well under way to deflect criticism Obama has received for refusing to approve the northern segment of TransCanada’s pipeline, which would carry crude from Canada’s oil sands.
 Question of Credit
 “This is like a governor personally issuing a fishing license,” Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said. “This portion of the pipeline is being built in spite of the president, not because of him.”
 While Obama will also be focusing on natural gas, solar and alternative energy research on his two-day trip, the cost of oil is a political flashpoint as he seeks re-election in November. Even as the broader economy improves, voters are reminded daily by signs at local gas stations that they are spending more to drive.
 The average retail price of regular gasoline in the U.S. was $3.84 a gallon as of March 20, up about 17 percent since the start of the year, according to the American Automobile Association’s daily fuel price survey. Crude oil for May delivery rose $1.66, or 1.6 percent, to $107.27 a barrel yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
 Gasoline Impact
 While the president may have little control over the price of a gallon of gasoline, the public looks to him to ease their strains, said Andrew Baumann, a vice president of the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.
 “Voters definitely believe that the president can have an impact on gas prices,” Baumann said. “Voters are not going to accept the argument that there’s not much he can do about it.”
 White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters traveling with the president that the administration is committed to increasing domestic energy production “in a safe and responsible way.”
 The Keystone pipeline has emerged as a point of attack by Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail.
 In January, Obama denied approval for TransCanada’s (TRP) $7.6 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. He blamed congressional Republicans for imposing a deadline on his decision that he said left no time to approve the project. His administration invited TransCanada to reapply, an overture the Calgary-based company accepted.
 Battle Over Approval
 Obama also lobbied Democrats to block attempts by Republicans in Congress to force approval of the 1,661-mile (2,673-kilometer) pipeline by attaching it to other legislation.
 TransCanada said on Feb. 27 it would reapply for a permit to build Keystone and proceed separately with the $2.3 billion segment from Cushing to Texas.
 The same day, the administration endorsed TransCanada’s plans to build that segment and released a statement saying the White House will “take every step possible to expedite the necessary federal permits.”
 A spokesman for Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma called Obama’s promise to fast-track permits for the southern section of pipeline “meaningless.”
 “The southern part does not require presidential approval,” the spokesman, John Hart, said. “The northern section, which crosses an international border with Canada, is the focus of the debate.”
 Swing States
 The themes Obama will be emphasizing in his trip are aimed at countering Republican critics and making his pitch in three states that will be in play in the election.
 Along with the Keystone pipeline, Obama has been criticized by Republicans over an Energy Department loan guarantee for Solyndra LLC, a maker of solar panels that filed for bankruptcy protection last year.
 Without mentioning Solyndra, Obama said not all clean energy investments will pan out.
 “Some companies will fail; some companies will succeed,” Obama said.
 After leaving Nevada, Obama ended the day in Maljamar, New Mexico, standing in front of an oil rig on federal land leased to ConocoPhillips (COP), the third-biggest U.S. oil company. He defended himself against critics who say he’s not doing enough to promote domestic oil exploration.
 “We’re drilling all over the place,” he said. Obama has repeatedly said that domestic oil and gas production has increased each year he’s been in office, with oil production at an eight-year high and domestic natural gas production at an all-time high.
 In Cushing tomorrow, he will speak at the site where construction is scheduled to begin in June on the pipeline to Texas refineries. He finishes the trip in Columbus, Ohio, at Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research.
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