On March 22, President Obama visited Cushing, Oklahoma, where he announced that construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline would now be a “priority.” Cushing, which calls itself the “Pipeline Crossroads of the World,” is surrounded by tank farms that store crude oil; Obama described the situation in Cushing as a “bottleneck” and the southern leg of Keystone XL as a measure to remedy the problem that “we can’t get enough of the oil to our refineries fast enough.”

Obama’s statements have drawn fire from conservatives, liberals, and Indian tribes. Those on the right have criticized Obama’s remarks as empty grandstanding, maintaining that his administration has no authority to either impede or (to use the media’s favorite term) “fast-track” a pipeline that doesn’t cross international borders…

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