Petroleum producers plan presidential protest

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CUSHING, Okla. — The President is scheduled to speak in Payne County this Thursday morning. It may be rural Oklahoma, but when it comes to pipelines, it’s the Capitol. The President is expected to talk about energy, though many in that industry are not impressed.

They are even planning to protest his visit, calling it a political ploy more than a genuine interest.

Mike Cantrell with the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance says, “For the last three years he’s been anti-fossil fuels.”

Mickey Thompson, an energy industry expert and political analyst, says, “He calls our industry an industry of the past and they’d like us to go away.”

The President is expected to mention his support for a pipeline running from Payne County to the gulf; it’s the southern end of the “Keystone XL Pipeline.”

Industry experts say while his support for the southern end is welcome, it’s not needed.

They build pipelines in the country all the time without needing presidential approval.

The President’s “green light” is only needed for approximately 50 feet on the northern end of the pipeline; that segment would cross the Canadian border.

So far the President has delayed that project.

Thompson says, “The President is using this, frankly, as a publicity stunt to say he’s doing something against high gas prices.”

Cantrell says, “We take exception to the hypocrisy of standing before the largest crude oil facility in the world and saying anything about energy.”

Thompson and others in the industry are planning to be in Payne County with their equipment as a protest to what the President has to say.

Thompson says, “We don’t think it’s disrespectful to the office of the President to come to Cushing as people in the oil and gas business to say, ‘We don’t buy this.'”

It’s unclear how much of Thursday’s protest will be witnessed by President Obama.

The event isn’t open to the public or the protesters.  

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