President Barack Obama on Thursday will expedite the
construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline as part of a tour of the
nation's energy hubs.
The president is speaking in Cushing, Okla., at a site owned
by TransCanada (
), whose controversial pipeline has been a major flash point
between the White House, environmentalists and Republicans
convinced the administration isn't doing enough to bring energy
prices down, or ensure the nation's energy security.
The president was scheduled to speak at the country's nexus of
oil pipelines, shortly before 11 a.m. EDT, with the goal of
suggesting to his opponents he doesn't oppose the oil
Cushing, a small town of about 8,000 people is the meeting
point of three dozen pipeline systems. It's also the site of an
oil supply bottleneck where current pipeline capacity can't keep
up with the nation's increased oil production.
It also has the storage capacity for more than 66 million
barrels of oil, the Financial Times reported.
In January, Obama blocked TransCanada's first permit request
for an extension of its already functioning Keystone pipeline on
environmental and safety grounds.
On Feb. 27, however, the White House backed TransCanada's
proposal to build the southern half of the pipeline, from Cushing
to the Texas coast as a separate project, and welcomed news the
company was ready to resubmit its permit.
TransCanada shares fell 11 cents to $46.04 in Thursday