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The Associated Press March 22, 2012, 02:08AM ET

Obama putting Oklahoma pipeline on fast track

President Barack Obama is defending his energy policies in oil country, pointing to plans to fast-track an oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas that emerged after he delayed the larger Keystone XL pipeline earlier this year.

The president is using a two-day Western trip to rebut charges he has stifled domestic energy production and been too eager to spend government money on renewable energy.

Republicans have blamed Obama for gas prices that have reached $3.86 a gallon, saying his rejection of the Keystone pipeline hurt the economy. Obama counters that oil drilling has increased on his watch and ridicules critics for ceding alternative energy to China and India.

In Oklahoma, Obama is announcing plans to expedite an oil pipeline that would alleviate choke points to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

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