CUSHING, Okla. -- President Obama said he supports moving forward with the southern portion of the XL Keystone Pipeline during his speech in Cushing Thursday morning. He said he wants to make the project a priority.
“I want us to control our own energy destiny. I want us to determine our own course,” President Obama said. “Yes, we're going to keep on drilling. Yes, we're going to keep on emphasizing production. Yes, we're going to keep trying to get oil to where it needs to be."
The President said the southern path of the pipeline was not the issue.
The northern part, the TransCanada Pipeline, was the main part of the controversy.
A portion of that pipeline would pass through areas of Nebraska that could affect their drinking water and water used for crop irrigation.
Pres. Obama said that will have to be reviewed to ensure there is no threat to their water safety.
While the President says he supports the pipeline project, he said the U.S. should also focus on renewable, clean energy sources and how to better use them.
"What we're also going to be doing as part of the all-above strategy is looking at how we can continue to improve renewable energy sources, clean resources and how can we be more efficient in our use of energy,” Pres. Obama said.
The President said the U.S. uses 20 percent of the world's oil and only produces 2 percent so our counrty would always rely on a foreign supply.
“Even if we opened up every inch of the country, if I opened up an oil rig on the south lawn or by the Washington Monument, even if we drilled every little bit of this great country of ours, we'd still have to buy the rest of our needs from someplace else if we keep using oil," Pres. Obama said. "The price of oil will still be set by the global market and that means every time there are tensions in the Middle East, it will affect the price of gas.”
This visit is the first time during his presidency, President Obama is in Oklahoma.
President Obama touched down in Air Force one at Tinker Air Force base just after 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The President gave a brief wave to the crowd, which included media, and about 100 military personnel.
Pres. Obama was greeted by Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Midwest City Mayor Jack Fry, as well as a Chief Master Sergeant, Colonel and a Major General.
President Obama slept overnight in a downtown OKC hotel.