Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin mugs for a photo during the Global Petroleum Show at the Stampede Grounds in Calgary on Tuesday, June 12, 2012.
Credits: LYLE ASPINALL/CALGARY SUN/QMI AGENCY
During a two-day visit to the Global Petroleum Show, Republican Mary Fallin said the president is ignoring the importance of the oil industry to the U.S. and states like hers.
"The president doesn't understand the magnitude of the energy sector and how it can generate strength in the economy," Fallin said during a visit to the Oklahoma government pavilion on the Calgary Stampede grounds.
Obama has turned down approval of the pipeline's leg between the Canadian border and a terminus at Cushing, in northeastern Oklahoma, argely over environmental concerns.
But he's given the green light to its southern leg, between Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast, whose refineries would receive Alberta crude piped there from the oilsands.
Fallin said she's confident Obama will approve the northern leg within a year, adding the project would create 14,000 jobs in her state alone, though many would be temporary and in construction.
Though pipeline opponents contend oilsands crude reaching the coast would simply be exported elsewhere, Fallin insisted Keystone XL would be vital in achieving U.S. energy supply security.
"I'd much rather be able to purchase oil from an ally like Canada than a from a hostile country ... the U.S. is doing a better job in reducing its dependence on foreign oil," she said.
The issue is a prominent one in Oklahoma, where the majority of the population support Keystone XL, said Fallin, a former U.S. Congresswoman