U.S. President Barack Obama announced today (Thursday) approval for part of the Keystone XL oil pipeline project - but his move was more about election votes than the country's energy needs.
President Obama said he is expediting approval for the southern portion of the Keystone oil pipeline. That section runs from Oklahoma to the Texas Gulf Coast.
The president told workers in Cushing, OK today that he was making that part of the Keystone XL project a "priority." The president said he remains committed to the project and defended his earlier rejection of the pipeline.
He blamed Republicans for insisting upon an application approval deadline that caused a rushed decision.
"Unfortunately, Congress decided they wanted their own timeline," President Obama said. "Not the company, not the experts, but members of Congress who decided this might be a fun political issue decided to try to intervene and make it impossible for us to make an informed decision."
The southern segment of the pipeline, however, is already planned to start construction in June, and is not the focus of the project's controversy. In fact, more than 99% of property owners in the southern route where the pipeline will run agree to it.
Instead, the president's announcement was more politics than progress - and triggered ample criticism from Republicans.
Many GOP members bashed the president's announcement as "meaningless."
A spokesman for Rep. John Boehner, R-OH, compared the news to "the governor holding a press conference to renew my driver's license -- except this announcement still leaves American energy and jobs behind."