Connie Mack Targets Keystone XL Pipeline

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(Source: Alex Wong/Getty Images) US Representative Connie Mack IV (R-Cape Coral)

(Source: Alex Wong/Getty Images) US Representative Connie Mack IV (R-Cape Coral)

Legislative Session Coverage

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Keystone XL pipeline has become a hot topic among politicos as gas price continue to rise. Despite the fact the pipeline won’t immediately impact gas prices, U.S. Representative Connie Mack started a petition drive Thursday to ask for the pipeline to be built.

Mack’s petition has areas for your contact information that are superimposed over gas tanks with prices up to $5.99 a gallon.

The petition is targeted not just at President Barack Obama, but also at Representative Mack’s opponent in the Florida Senate race, incumbent Senator Bill Nelson. Mack has seen his numbers surge and then crash in the most recent polling.

Nelson’s campaign will be tied in most ways to how well President Obama can perform in November. If Obama can win, Nelson will likely have an easy path to reelection. But if Obama struggles, Mack has a big-time opening to join Marco Rubio and make both of Florida’s senators Republicans.

The pipeline became politicized over the last year as plans to build it through the middle part of the country came under scrutiny. Congressional Republicans have sought to take away the President’s ability to make any decisions regarding the pipeline, but the plans still haven’t been approved at this time.

According to the UK Guardian, Obama will speed up approval of the pipeline by speeding up permits in the US-only segment of the pipeline running from Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas.

Even if the Keystone pipeline were approved Thursday, it wouldn’t be built until at least 2014 and that means it would have zero impact on gas prices right now. Oil experts are split on the long-term impact on gas prices Keystone could have.

“It is similar to the gambling Wall Street did on whether or not people would pay their subprime (below-market rate) mortgages in the mortgage meltdown,” Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of Maryland and a former federal regulator of financial markets told McClatchy. “Now they are betting on the upward direction of the price of oil. It is excessive speculation, which is a fancy word for saying that gamblers wearing Wall Street suits have taken these markets over.”

For his part, Senator Nelson has actually voted in favor of the Keystone pipeline, but the bill he supported would require the oil remain in the United States and not be traded around the world.

Nelson said the true problem of rising gas prices is insider shenanigans and has called on the White House to enforce new rules limiting oil speculation.

“Speculators are bidding up the price of oil and flipping futures contracts for a quick profit,” Nelson said in a statement, “much like speculators who bought and sold during the real estate bubble.”

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