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Ada News: U.S. Rep. Tom Cole weighs in on pipeline

November 11, 2015
News Stories

Ada News - Eric Swanson

President Barack Obama’s decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline project doesn’t stand up under scrutiny, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole said Tuesday.

“Every study we’ve had indicates that it’s safer, cheaper and more efficient to use the pipeline than to transport the oil or by rail or by truck,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “And it’s also diplomatically insulting to a country (Canada) that’s one of our very best friends in the world, a dependable ally that we’ve fought with together for a hundred years in different parts of the globe.”

Cole stopped by The Ada News in between speaking to a group of community bankers and talking to government students at East Central University. Later in the day, he was scheduled to speak at a ceremony marking the one-year anniversary of the death of Pre-Paid Legal Services founder Harland Stonecipher.

Cole’s comments on the Keystone pipeline came less than a week after Obama killed the project, saying approval would have undermined his credibility on climate change. The announcement ended a seven-year political fight that started in September 2008, when TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, sought a permit for the project.

As originally envisioned, the pipeline would have run from Canada’s tar sands through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, then connected with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of cure oil a day to specialized refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, the Associated Press reported last week. The State Department had jurisdiction over the project because it would have crossed a U.S. border.

Over the past seven years, the project became a symbol of the larger debate over climate change.

Supporters claimed the pipeline would have created jobs and reduced the United States’ reliance on Middle Eastern oil, according to the AP. Meanwhile, opponents said pipeline leaks could possibly pollute underground aquifers that are a key source of water for Great Plains farmers.

Cole said Obama’s decision to block the pipeline was designed to please environmental activists who have opposed the project for years.

“I think the president did it for patently political reasons,” he said. “This shows how much in the sway of the environmental community that he is. This is all about they don’t want to develop any carbon-based energy.”

Cole said he supports efforts to develop new sources of energy, such as wind power, but he does not think the United States will abandon fossil fuels anytime soon.

Online: Ada News