Keystone XL not political, Obama says

Dec. 8, 2011 at 8:25 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline isn't going to be used for political fodder, the U.S. president said during meetings with Canada's prime minster.

U.S. President Barack Obama met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the White House Wednesday. Obama, during a news conference, said he discussed TransCanada's plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline from oil sands projects in Alberta province to refineries along the southern U.S. coast.

The U.S. State Department, which needs to approve Keystone XL because it would cross the U.S.-Canadian border, said it was reviewing alternative route options in Nebraska. This means a decision is unlikely until after the November 2012 U.S. presidential elections.

Last week, however, 35 Republican lawmakers proposed a measure that would force the White House to issue a construction permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada within 60 days.

The American Petroleum Institute took a jab at Obama's so-called We Can't Wait campaign by saying delaying the shovel-ready Keystone XL pipeline, which supporters say would create more than 13,000 jobs, was a political ploy to appeal to environmental-issue voters.

Obama, however, said he wouldn't let the project be "held hostage" by political issues by House or Senate Republicans, who said they'd link the project to legislation regarding a payroll tax cut.

"I think it's worth noting, for those who want to try to politicize this issue, that when it comes to domestic energy production, we have gone all in," said Obama.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a posting on his Web site, said, "The Obama administration is 'all in' alright -- all in on blocking American energy production that would help create new jobs and lower prices."

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