Obama to Fast Track Southern Portion of XL Pipeline

According to CNN sources inside the Obama administration say the president will announce in Cushing, Oklahoma, on Thursday that his administration will expedite the permit for the southern half of the Keystone XL pipeline.

In January, Obama denied a permit for the 1,700-mile-long Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would run from Canada’s tar sands development to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Republicans criticized the president as not doing everything possible to create jobs and drive down high gas prices.

Late last month, TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL Pipeline, announced plans to begin building the southern half of the pipeline, which would begin in Cushing. The White House praised the move.

Senior administration officials would not confirm the president’s plan to cut red tape for the project, though one senior administration official acknowledged the need to deal with the glut of oil in Cushing, where oil from the Midwest hits a bottleneck on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

“On Thursday, the president will reiterate his administration’s commitment to expediting the construction of a pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf of Mexico, relieving a bottleneck of oil and bringing domestic resources to market,” a White House official said.

Environmentalists spent weeks protesting the Keystone XL project outside the White House late last fall into the early winter, before the administration announced its objection to the pipeline.

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