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Energy as an Issue in US Presidential Campaign

Energy has become an important issue in the American presidential campaign. And gasoline prices, costs that affect almost all Americans, have risen sharply in recent months. For example, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has criticized President Obama's energy policy. In a newspaper commentary, he said the president has let prices rise while placing too many requirements on the energy industry. One issue in the political debate is a project proposed by the Canadian company Transcanada.

Its Keystone XL pipeline would stretch more than three thousand kilometers from Alberta, Canada to several oil processing centers in the United States. If completed, the project would cost about thirteen billion dollars and transport over one million barrels of oil a day. The Republican Party has criticized President Obama for delaying work on the oil pipeline. Republican Doc Hastings serves in the United States Congress.

He says the party wants to use all of the nation's energy resources. Mr. Hastings says that would include use of both the Keystone XL pipeline and oil exploration in coastal waters. He says Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed reforms that break down government barriers to America's natural resources. And, he says the House has passed legislation that would open coastal areas to new oil exploration and production. In early March, President Obama visited a Daimler truck factory in North Carolina.

He told workers that more oil exploration is not an easy answer to the nation's energy problems. He said the United States has two percent of the world's oil reserves, but uses twenty percent of the world's oil. He said this means that, even with increased oil production, there is no easy answer to high gasoline prices.Workers at the North Carolina factory build alternative fuel vehicles. Mr. Obama told them that new sources of energy mean more jobs. The president has called for tax breaks on clean energy vehicles and urged local governments to buy them. He also has asked lawmakers to end four billion dollars in support for the oil and gas industries.

For VOA Special English, I'm Carolyn Presutti. You can download texts and MP3s of our programs and learn English at

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