Obama Pitching Part of Keystone XL Pipeline 'Nothing More Than a Con Job,' Okla. Republican Says

Susan Jones | March 22, 2012 | 6:53am EDT
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President Barack Obama speaks during his visit to oil and gas production fields located on federal lands outside of Maljamar, N.M., Wednesday, March, 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) - An oil-state Republican says when President Barack Obama stands in Cushing, Okla. on Thursday to announce that he is expediting the permit process for the southern section of the Keystone XL pipeline, he’ll pulling a fast one on Americans:

“The problem is, we don’t need any presidential approval for that (the southern section of pipeline)," said Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.). "It doesn’t cross any international lines,” Sullivan told Fox & Friends on Thursday.

The Oklahoma-to-Texas section of the pipeline requires permits from the states, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sullivan said – “and it’s going to happen in spite of the president,” he added.

“And I think this is nothing more than a con job. Oklahomans don’t appreciate very much this photo opportunity that he’s doing. And I don’t believe the American people are going to believe in this con job, either.”

Sullivan noted that the president is spending millions of dollars in taxpayer money this week, flying Air Force One to western and midwestern states to tout his energy plan. He's pretending he’s “for energy, when he’s not.”

“We certainly need the northern part of this pipeline,” Sullivan said, referring to the still unapproved Canada-to-Nebraska section, which does require Obama administration approval because it crosses an international border.

“There’s a tremendous amount of oil up there. And we’re spending over a billion dollars every single day to foreign countries to subsidize these nations and economies -- and that money should be right here, bouncing around our country,” Sullivan said.

"We're drilling all over the place," Obama insisted Wednesday in Maljamar, N.M., standing beside oil rigs on federal land.

But his critics, including Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, say the Obama administration should open more federal lands to oil leases, to boost U.S. production and revenue for the federal government.

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In other developments, a majority of Americans (57 percent) think the U.S. government should approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, while 29% think it should not, says a new Gallup poll. Fourteen percent had no opinion.

Republicans (81 percent) were almost twice as likely as Democrats (44 percent) to want the government to approve the oil pipeline, and half of independents (51 percent) also approve.

Support for construction of the pipeline was strongest in the Midwest (68 percent), followed by the South (61 percent), two regions through which the proposed new pipeline would run.

The question was asked as part of Gallup's annual Environment survey, conducted March 8-11, 2012.

As envisioned by TransCanada, the Keystone XL oil pipeline would bring Canadian oil from Hardisty, Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas.

To get the oil moving, TransCanada wants to build two new sections of pipeline – one, from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska – and the second section, from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur and Houston, Texas. (An existing section of pipeline already runs from Nebraska to Oklahoma. See map)

President Obama delayed a decision on the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline earlier this year, siding with environmental activists who object to having the pipeline cross a large Nebraska aquifer.

Delaying a decision on the Canada-to-Nebraska pipeline until after the 2012 election prompted fierce criticism from Republicans -- and from many Americans worried about rising gasoline prices.

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