- - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

BOULDER CITY, Nevada — 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’ Gulf coast would remove a critical bottleneck in the country’s oil transportation system, as rising oil production has outgrown pipelines’ capacity to deliver oil to refineries.

Mr. 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 Mr. 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.

SENATE

Lawmakers push measure condemning Africa’s Kony

A bipartisan group of 34 senators introduced a resolution Wednesday condemning Joseph Kony and his ruthless guerrilla group for a 26-year campaign of terror in central Africa that has been marked by child abductions and widespread killings.

The measure backs the effort of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and the newest country, South Sudan, to stop Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. The legislation also signals support for the U.S. effort to help regional forces pursue commanders of the militia group. In October, President Obama sent about 100 U.S. troops mostly Army Special Forces to central Africa as advisers to regional forces.

Decrying “unconscionable crimes against humanity,” Sen. Christopher A. Coons, Delaware Democrat, said Kony “represents the worst of mankind, and he and his commanders must be held accountable for their war crimes.”

The Lord’s Resistance Army has kidnapped thousands of children through nearly three decades, forcing them to become sex slaves, fight as soldiers or kill family members. Mr. Coons and Mr. Inhofe said 66,000 children in Uganda alone have been kidnapped.

CAMPAIGN

Court hears group’s appeal on ‘issue advocacy’ ads

A conservative group critical of President Obama over abortion policy has asked an appeals court in Virginia to declare certain federal campaign restrictions unconstitutional.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond heard arguments Wednesday. A ruling is expected in a few weeks.

The group called the Real Truth About Obama Inc. is challenging Federal Election Commission regulations governing organizations that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate. The organization claims its “issue advocacy” amounts to constitutionally protected free speech.

Story Continues →