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Obama to fast-track oil pipeline, other projects

BOULDER CITY, Nev. - President Obama will direct federal agencies to fast-track an oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas, backing a segment of the larger Keystone XL project that he rejected earlier this year.

The 485-mile line from Cushing, Okla., to refineries on Texas’s Gulf coast would remove a bottleneck in the country’s oil transportation system, as rising oil production has outgrown pipelines’ capacity to deliver oil to refineries.

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Obama’s directive, to be announced Thursday, also would apply to other pipelines that alleviate choke points. It will be issued along with an executive order requiring agencies to make faster decisions on other infrastructure projects.

For Obama, the announcement provides an answer to Republicans who say his energy policies, including the rejection of the larger Canada-Texas pipeline, have contributed to high gas prices and destroyed jobs.

Obama is defending his energy agenda this week. He visited a solar panel plant in Nevada and plans to visit oil and gas fields in New Mexico.

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