House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced ahead of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address that he will host oil executives and local leaders affected by the president’s rejection the Keystone XL pipeline, the latest attempt by House Republicans to punish Obama for failing to approve the controversial project.
"President Obama's rejection of the Keystone project has caused a public outcry and provided another example of how his policies are making our economy worse," Boehner said in a statement. "The president owes America's workers an explanation, and I hope he will provide one tonight with these leaders and job creators on hand."
Boehner's guests include Ray Brooks, the refining division manager at Marathon Petroleum Co. in Robinson, Ill., as well as Jay Churchill, the manager of Conoco Phillips' Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Ill., which had recently expanded in anticipation of the expansion of the Keystone pipeline. Also in attendance will be Dale Delie, president of a pipe producer in Little Rock, Ark., which claimed to have laid off 60 workers because of the president's decision, and Sen. Chris Langemeier, a member of the Nebraska State Legislature, who serves as chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and outspoken proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline and author of compromise legislation that paved the way for a new pipeline route in Nebraska.
The president is expected to make no mention of the Keystone XL during his address. The pipeline drew hundreds of activists, including author and advocate Bill McKibben and Greenpeace executive director Phil Radford, to a protest on the Capitol's west lawn, culminating in a colorful demonstration outside the American Petroleum Institute's headquarters.