John Kline Blasts Obama on Oil Pipeline, Gas Prices

Friday, Second District Congressman John Kline took the Obama administration to task, saying that the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline would create jobs and cut gas prices. Not so fast, say some surprising critics.

U.S. Rep. John Kline, the Second District Congressman from Lakeville, ripped President Barack Obama's administration and its handling of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in a campaign email on Friday. The statement foreshadows a renewed battle over attempts to clear the way for construction to begin on the estimated $7 billion mega-project when the House reconvenes next week.

President Obama has previously said he would delay a decision on support for that portion of the project from Alberta to Nebraska until 2013 in order to complete a comprehensive environmental analysis. He has since approved construction of the southern portion of the pipeline to run from Oklahoma to Texas.

Opponents of the project say the Keystone XL pipeline is an environmental crime in process, greatly inflates the number of expected jobs created and would actually raise prices at the pump further.

Critics from some surprising corners have challenged the GOP's contention that ramping up domestic production would make gas cheaper, among them Martin Wolf of London's Financial Timesaccording to a recent article in the money magazine Forbes. Wolf argues that the real reason behind the 13 percent spike in oil prices is a looming conflict between Israel and Iran. Furthermore, Wolf pointed out oil prices are set by the global markets not confined to U.S. borders. Wolf further argued that the U.S. — with its comparatively low stock of viable oil fields — does not set prices but merely accepts them.

"In 2010, the US produced 7.8 million barrels a day, 9 percent of the world’s supply. Unlike Saudi Arabia, the US lacks spare capacity: it is a price taker. Responding to his critics, Mr Obama said: 'We are drilling more. We are producing more, but the fact is, producing more oil at home isn’t enough to bring gas prices down overnight,'" Wolf wrote. "These remarks are correct, except for the last word. Producing more oil would have next to no effect on oil prices."

The best thing the U.S. can do to lower prices is reduce consumption, Wolf concluded. 

In the email, Kline contends that high gas prices are stalling a struggling economy and contends that a new Wall Street Journal report, which outlines what it says are Canadian leaders’ plans to “bypass” the United States for Asian markets, increases the pressure to move approval for the project forward. He blames Obama, not the world market, for high gas prices.

"In other words, energy and jobs that would have benefited American families and small businesses will now be shipped overseas – courtesy of the Obama administration."

His statement echoes a press release from the House Energy & Commerce Committee Republicans that states “In light of today’s news out of Canada, the urgency is greater now than ever.”

Kline also that beat the high gas price drum, as did Minnesota’s Sixth District Representative , continuing a growing theme among Republicans of spotlighting the bane of drivers everywhere while framing Obama’s Keystone XL resistance as an impediment to improvement.

Combined, the announcements help to solidify ‘pain at the pump’ as a Republican mantra leading up to the November elections.

The debate continues to rage, but it remains to be seen how such arguments may affect Kline's shot at reelection. Kline has been a runaway winner in the Second District, which includes Burnsville, since first being elected in 2002. The recent mandated redistricting has added some additional Democratic-leaning constituency to the voting rolls and their intent to seek their party’s nomination to run against Kline in hopes of reclaiming the seat.

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bill pankonin April 16, 2012 at 01:06 PM
The Bakken is the United State's answer to having all the oil it needs. However the governments way of dealing with new oil discovery is to build road blocks which just means more government less jobs. Bad guys are not EXON unfortunately it's our elected officials who will not make good business decisions. Delaying pipelines and new refineries is the government's way of staying in control. Jobs are the key to moving the economy forward not more government red tape.
Colin Lee April 16, 2012 at 03:06 PM
John Kline paints a picture of the Keystone XL pipeline as the solution to Minnesota's gas prices, yet Bloomberg News shows several studies which prove clearly that the pipeline would increase prices by ten to twenty cents a gallon across the Midwest. It would remove the supply glut of Canadian tar sands oil here which keeps prices down. Minnesota also has the largest refinery of any state without an oil well, which could even lose new jobs to refineries in Louisiana as a result of the pipeline. The pipeline is good for Europe and New York, but bad for Minnesota. It would take away Minnesota money and Minnesota jobs.
Florian Schach April 16, 2012 at 09:35 PM
The Keystone pipeline continues to be at the forefront of our political debates. What clearly needs to happen is that we need to embrace this project and determine a best course of action from there. The Pipeline straight up will provide us directly with the labor that we need in this downturn economy as well as act as the bridge for our current (economic needs) with anything that we're considering in the future such as alternative energy usage (http://bit.ly/ytP77z). But we need to get real about how to get to where we want to be by acknowledging where we are now.
C Smith April 17, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Yes, we only hear from Kline when he is abusing the congressional franking privilege (sending out glossy "brochures" with stock photo people paid for by our tax dollars) or robo-calls into the district (good luck getting to ask a question if you are not on the right list). Easily the most partisan member of Congress in our state, which is quite an accomplishment considering we also have Bachmann. He doesn't even need to be there since he robo-votes as well (he never met a Democratic idea he liked).
Jason April 19, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Here's what we do know: - The current gas price issue has nearly nothing to do with supply or access to oil. In fact, currently, the US is a net exporter of oil. - The Keystone XL pipeline has been deemed by numerous independent authorities as being capable of producing only 600-1000 net jobs, not the ridiculously overblown estimates Kline espouses, which even the Keystone project sponsors have dismissed. - Forbes, The Economist and a number of oil industry reports have reminded us that due to the lack of available oil refining capacity in the US, and oil companies' unwillingness to invest in and take ownership of new refineries (which would, in turn, drive down their gas prices), a vast majority of this new oil supply would be headed to emerging economies across the world. - Kline's "concern" for the prices you and I pay at the pump is certainly not borne out by his voting record, where he is staunchly opposed to any sort of regulations and/or limits on speculation and excessive trading in the oil futures and commodities markets, which most neutral economists and financial experts cite as the single biggest cause of inflated fuel prices by any measure. I voted for Kline twice. Never again. I expect conservative values, but also a real and genuine regard for what is truly behind things that impact you and I -- not this constant barrage of anti-Democrat, GOP party spin that has made up his voting record. We deserve better. We deserve the truth for once.


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