Obama to defend energy policies, fast-track Okla.-to-Texas pipeline

OKLAHOMA CITY - For the first time since becoming Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama is waking up in the Sooner State Thursday.

Obama landed at Tinker Air Force Base Wednesday night ahead of a Thursday morning speech.

After spending the night in Oklahoma City, the president will speak about his energy policies at a pipe storage facility near Cushing, Okla. later this morning.

Obama is expected to announce plans to fast-track the development of the XL Keystone Oil Pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas.

Residents and businesses are prepared for the president's visit.

Attorney Bill Cubbage has lived in Cushing since 1944 and he watched thousands of jobs leave when the Shell Oil Company left several years ago.

Now, Cubbage sees the pipeline as opportunity and that's why he supports the president's message Thursday.

"Let's see jobs," said Cubbage.  "Jobs mean employment, a way for families to make a living.  The better education.  You name it.  Better for everybody."

Not everyone in Cushing though is of the same opinion.

John Loftis worked in the oil industry for 14 years.  He's pro-oil but he says he's not a fan of Obama or his visit.

"I thought he was like Don Quixote.  He just wanted to build windmills," said Loftis.  "I didn't know he had anything to do with pipelines.  Now he's changed his mind.  To get more votes, I guess."

Republicans have put the blame on the president for gas prices reaching $3.86 per gallon, saying his rejection of the Keystone hurt the economy; however, Obama says oil drilling has increased while he's been in office and ridicules critics for ceding alternative energy overseas.

Obama is expected to begin speaking around 10 a.m.

Stay with KJRH.com and 2NEWS for full coverage, including a live stream of the president's speech.

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