(RTTNews) - GOP presidential presumptive nominee Mitt Romney made the clearest statement yet on his energy policy Friday, stating building the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline would be a key part of his presidency.
"If I become President, we will finally have an energy policy that will be focused on keeping the hundreds of billions of dollars we spend a year buying energy from other people - keeping it here. And by he way, one person we will buy from - and that's oil from Canada because I will build that pipeline if I have to myself."
Speaking to the Republican National Committee's State Chairmen's National Meeting in Arizona, Romney also criticized the President's energy policies.
"It does not seem like an all of the above energy policy to me, and then I figured it out - the President does like 'all of the above.' He likes all of the energy sources that come from above the ground," Romney added, referring to green energy like wind and solar.
The remarks come a day after the company building the pipeline, TransCanada, applied for a new route for Keystone which they said will bypass environmentally sensitive lands in Nebraska. On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives also passed, for the fourth time, an approval for the pipeline attached to a transport funding bill.
White House Spokesman Jay Carney blasted the House Friday for this move, calling it "highly politicized, highly partisan" and saying the government would not make a hasty decision to allow a "foreign pipeline built by a foreign company emanating from foreign territory to cross U.S. borders" without proper due diligence.
Environmentalists are also highly critical of the pipeline, saying it would "carry the world's dirtiest oil and threaten our heartland with toxic and costly spills," Friend of the Earth Federal Dirty Fuels Campaigner Kim Huynh told RTTNews Thursday.
The Obama White House has tried to delay final consideration of the 1,179-mile pipeline until after the presidential elections. But regardless of timing, the Keystone XL Pipeline and the question of domestically-produced energy will prove to be a key issue come November.
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(Originally published April 21, 2012, by RTT News.)