President Barack Obama rejected a permit from pipeline company TransCanada to build the entire pipeline from tar sands deposits in Canada to refineries along the southern U.S. coast. The White House welcomed a March decision by TransCanada, however, to build a portion of the pipeline from Cushing, Okla., to the southern Texas coast.
Obama headed Thursday to Cushing to tout his domestic energy policy. He'll speak at a storage yard holding pipes that will be used for the construction of the pipeline that will help transport oil from Cushing to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee said the southern leg of Keystone XL is moving forward in spite of the president.
"President Obama believes he can take credit for approving Keystone XL's southern leg, but he does not control this segment's permitting process," the committee said in a statement.
House Republicans have tried to force the administration's hands on the project by inserting various amendments in legislation this year.
TransCanada plans to reapply for a presidential permit once it decides on a final route through Nebraska.
Supporters of Keystone XL describe it as a "shovel-ready" project that will enhance U.S. energy security, lower prices and bring more jobs to a weak U.S. economy. Critics complain the type of crude oil designated for the pipeline, so-called tar sands, is harmful to the environment and less efficient.
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