By Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY, Friday, March 16 — The White House Press Office, in a release sent to The City Sentinel and other news organizations, has provided details of President Barack Obama’s March 21-22 trip to four states, including Oklahoma. While in Oklahoma, he will visit the Cushing area, a major hub for the oil industry.
Earlier today, in response to questions from The City Sentinel, the White House press office confirmed Obama’s intention to visit Oklahoma next week.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Tulsa, the state’s ranking U.S. Senator and a leading Republican critic of the president, said he hoped the visit provides a chance for President Obama to “learn a thing or two about the benefits of using our own domestic oil and gas resources, especially as gas prices continue to skyrocket.”
Obama will visit Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Ohio, his press office disclosed, “to highlight his Administration’s all of the above energy strategy, including his focus on continuing to expand responsible oil and gas development, increasing the fuel economy of the vehicles we drive which will save families money at the pump, supporting renewable energy sources, and investing in infrastructure and research and development, all of which play a central role in increasing our nation’s energy security.”
The president’s trip first stop is in Boulder City, Nevada, where his staff says “he will visit the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility, the largest photovoltaic plant operating in the country with nearly one million solar panels powering 17,000 homes.
“In Boulder City, he will highlight his Administration’s focus on diversifying our energy portfolio, including expanding renewable energy from sources like wind and solar, which thanks in part to investments made by this Administration is set to double in the President’s first term.”
The first term Democrat, who is seeking a second term in this year’s election, then travels to New Mexico and the Carlsbad “oil and gas production fields located on federal lands.” Carlsbad is home to around 70 active rigs.
The White House release continued, “While in Carlsbad, the President will highlight the Administration’s commitment to expanding domestic oil and gas production, which has increased each year he has been in office, with domestic oil production currently at an eight year high and domestic natural gas production at an all-time high.”
Obama’s office described his trip to Cushing as an opportunity “to discuss his Administration’s commitment to improving and supporting the infrastructure that helps us leverage our domestic resources, while also ensuring these projects are developed in a safe and responsible way. This includes a pipeline that will transport oil from Cushing to the Gulf of Mexico, which will help address the bottleneck of oil that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production in the Midwest.
“In Oklahoma, the President will deliver remarks at a storage yard holding pipes that will be used for the construction of the pipeline.”
After spending the night in Oklahoma City and making the stop in Cushing, President Obama will travel to Columbus, Ohio, and the Ohio State University, “home to some of the country’s most advanced energy-related research and development.”
Inhofe was in Oklahoma City today to meet constituents and sign copies of his new book on global warming, called “The Greatest Hoax.”
In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK after a discussion at his book signing event, Inhofe said, “We know his visit is little more than a campaign stop in an attempt to put a favorable spin on his dismal energy record, because current gas prices threaten his job. America has more domestic recoverable resources of oil, gas and coal than any country in the world, and developing these resources is the best way to revive our economy while bringing down prices at the pump.
“Yet, President Obama continues to wage an all-out attack on American fossil fuel development in his war on affordable energy. He keeps saying that oil and natural gas are the fuels of the past, but he is wrong. Oklahomans know they are very much the fuels of the present and the foreseeable future. The sooner he realizes this, the better.”
Inhofe often clashes philosophically with U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. However, the two have cordial relations. Just days ago he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that she, Boxer and EPA administrator Lisa Jackson were “my three favorite liberals.”
Maddow had Inhofe as a guest on her evening program this week.
Inhofe has encouraged Boxer to hold a hearing in Cushing on the proposed pipeline running from Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico.
Earlier this year, President Obama stopped a plan to build a pipeline from Canada through Cushing and to the Gulf, provoking massive criticism from key players in the energy industry, and from some construction unions.
However, the administration subsequently approved plans by TransCanada, announced February 27, to build the southern portion of the pipeline.
The president has said pipeline supporters can apply for permits to build the northern portion of the pipeline in a new application.