Thursday, March 1, 2012 ■ Page 15 Nation & World
Obama: No easy answers to lowering pump prices
By ANNE GEARAN Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President
Barack Obama says there is no easy answer to the problem of rising energy prices and he’s dismissing Republican solutions as little more than gimmicks. “We know there’s no silver bullet that
will bring down gas prices or reduce our dependence on foreign oil overnight,” Obama said Feb. 25 in his weekly radio and Internet address. “But what we can do is get our priorities straight and make a sustained, serious effort to tackle this problem.” Oil prices are approaching last year’s
highs as tensions increase over Iran’s nuclear program. The rise pushed gaso- line prices Feb. 24 to a national average of $3.65 a gallon, the highest ever for this time of year. A spike in gas prices is normal in spring, but it came earlier than usual this year in large part because of world fears that the growing confron- tation with Iran will crimp oil supplies. Iran is the world’s third-largest crude supplier.
Rising oil prices weigh on the econ-
omy, pushing leisure and business travel costs higher. Every 1-cent increase in the price of gasoline costs the economy $1.4 billon, analysts say. Obama said Republicans have one
answer to the oil pinch: drill. “You know that’s not a plan, especially
since we’re already drilling,” Obama said, echoing his remarks earlier in the week. “It’s a bumper sticker.”
Obama is pushing what he calls an
“all-of-the-above” approach to the prob- lem of limited energy resources, meaning an attempt to seek out alternative energy sources while reducing consumption of traditional fuels. In the Republican address, Texas Sen.
Kay Bailey Hutchison blamed the rise in gasoline prices partly on the Obama ad- ministration, which she said has blocked some potential new sources of oil and gas.
“We can’t slow down global demand for oil and gas, but we can do a lot more here at home to assure that we have the energy we need and to halt skyrocket- ing costs,” she said. “President Obama’s policy has resulted in an unprecedented slowdown in new exploration and pro- duction of oil and gas.” For all the political claims, econo-
mists say there’s not much a president of either party can do about gasoline prices. Certainly not in the short term. But it’s clear that people are concerned — a new Associated Press-GFK poll says seven in 10 Americans fi nd the issue deeply im- portant — so it’s sure to be a political is- sue through the summer. The price of gasoline, which is made
from crude oil, has soared with oil prices. The national average jumped by nearly 12 cents per gallon in a week, with state averages above $4 per gallon in Califor- nia, Alaska and Hawaii. At $3.65 per gallon, gasoline is still
below last year’s high of $3.98 and the record $4.11 set in 2008.
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President OK with shorter pipeline plan
By MATTHEW DALY Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The White
House on Feb. 27 welcomed a Cana- dian company’s plan to build an oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas af- ter President Barack Obama blocked the larger Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.
The new proposal by Calgary-
based TransCanada does not require presidential approval because it does not cross a U.S. border. The 485-mile pipeline is expected to cost about $2.3 billion and be completed next year, pending approval by federal, state and local governments. The Obama administration had
suggested development of an Okla- homa-to-Texas line to alleviate an oil bottleneck at a Cushing, Okla., stor- age hub. Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline in January, citing uncertainty over a route that avoids the environ- mentally sensitive Sandhills region in Nebraska. He said there was not enough time for a fair review before a looming deadline forced on him by Republicans. The action did not kill the project but, for the second time in three months, put off a tough choice on the pipeline project, which has be- come the focus of a heated political fi ght. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Feb. 27 that Obama was
pleased with TransCanada’s latest an- nouncement. “Moving oil from the Midwest to
the world-class, state-of-the-art refi n- eries on the Gulf Coast will modern- ize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy produc- tion,” Carney said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Trans- Canada to ensure that it is built in a safe, responsible and timely manner, and we commit to take every step pos- sible to expedite the necessary federal permits.” TransCanada said Feb. 27 it still
hopes to build the full 1,700-mile Key- stone XL pipeline, which would carry oil derived from tar sands in Alberta, Canada to refi neries along the Texas Gulf Coast. The proposed $7 billion pipeline would run through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas before reaching Oklahoma. Russ Girling, TransCanada’s presi- dent and CEO, said the Oklahoma-to- Texas pipeline will transport growing supplies of U.S. crude oil to meet re- fi nery demands in Texas. “Gulf Coast refi neries can then ac-
cess lower-cost domestic production and avoid paying a premium to for- eign oil producers,” he said. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., called the announcement “great news” for his state. Inhofe said the pipeline could create more than 1,000 construction jobs in Oklahoma alone.
Serving the Bakken
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