Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., posted a "Keystone Clock " on his House Energy Committee's website Wednesday. The chairman states more than 1,615 days have passed since TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline proposal sought approval. Joining Upton's call to build the pipeline is Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio. Executives at TransCanada have tried a different tactic to try to get approval from the Obama administration by claiming the pipeline won't affect global warming.
The tug of war between economics and environmentalism is escalating thanks to 34 straight days of rising gasoline prices.
What does Upton say about President Barack Obama's lack of progress?
The energy committee chairman states on his clock, "The Keystone XL project offers a unique opportunity for the president to increase America's access to stable and secure oil supplies. Energy supply stability is an issue the American people become concerned about, especially when prices are rising."
Upton goes on to say the new pipeline will help "insulate" the United States from global competition for Middle Eastern oil supplies. He calls the huge project a "sensible solution" for America.
How does Boehner criticize Obama with gas prices rising?
Boehner posted a "Running on Empty " graphic Tuesday. The Speaker of the House complains gas prices have "soared $0.43 since Jan. 17" before remarking with his own Keystone clock, "How long will Americans have to wait?"
Boehner cites several sources, including nine Democratic senators, who want Obama to approve the project quickly. The pipeline may not see a decision until mid-June. Around 20,000 jobs and nearly a million barrels of oil a day are at stake for American oil companies.
What is the explanation for rising gas prices as argued by Upton and Boehner?
CNBC reports as many as eight refineries are closing on the East Coast. One such facility closed in January in New Jersey and prices have risen ever since. Crude oil refinement has decreased by 1 million barrels per day in 2013. The rise in gas prices threatens a fragile economic recovery trying to get ahead after the holiday season as investor John Kilduff says gas at $5 a gallon is a "real possibility."
What are some of the highest gas prices in the nation right now?
Prices for a regular gallon of gasoline average $3.75 nationally. Long Island Newsday reports one gallon goes for is above $4 just as higher payroll taxes and the expensive heating oil season kicks in. Gas prices are up more than 28 cents from a month ago in the region.
Gas prices in Michigan have risen 60 cents per gallon in the Detroit area, according to The Detroit News . Prices are expected to rise through April. Prices in Detroit are around $3.88 per gallon on average, a rise of 16 cents in the past week.
The Washington Post reports gas prices haven't risen this fast since 2005. Prices in the nation's capital are within five cents of $4 per gallon thanks in part to refineries, but also because of lower output in Saudi Arabia and tensions in Iraq and Iran.
What has TransCanada said about its proposal?
The oil company is trying a new tactic to please environmentalists, according to the Associated Press . Alex Pourbaix, one of the company's presidents, said Canada is responsible for just 2 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. The Oil Sands in Alberta, the area from where the oil will be transported, makes up just 5 percent of Canada's greenhouse gases. On the whole, Pourbaix argues the resulting one-tenth of 1 percent of global greenhouse emissions is "immaterial."
William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics.
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