Boehner: SOTU guests include Americans ‘harmed’ by Obama pipeline permit denial

Caroline May | Reporter

President Barack Obama might not be addressing his refusal to green-light the Keystone XL pipeline project during his State of the Union address, but House Speaker John Boehner is trying to keep the issue front and center — announcing Tuesday afternoon that his guests for the Tuesday night speech will be some of the people “hurt by” the president’s denial of the Keystone permit.

Boehner will host four local leaders in the House gallery Tuesday, who he says were harmed by the president’s failure to approve the pipeline from Canada to Texas, a project that would create an estimated 20,000 jobs.

“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 speaker’s guests will include Ray Brooks of Marathon Petroleum Company in Robinson, Ill.; Jay Churchill of Conoco Phillips’ Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Ill.; Dale Delie, President of Welspun Tubular LLC in Little Rock, Ark.; and Nebraska State Sen. Chris Langemeier.

“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 added. “Energy reform is a major component of our Plan for America’s Job Creators, and will be an important focus for House Republicans in the year ahead as we work to remove government barriers that are hurting our economy and getting in the way of private-sector job creation.”

A Rasmussen poll released Monday found that 36 percent of likely voters strongly favor the pipeline, 56 percent somewhat favor the pipeline and just 27 percent oppose it. (RELATED: Full State of the Union coverage)

Below is the guest and bio list provided by the Speaker’s Office:

Ray Brooks

Mr. Brooks is the Refining Division Manager at Marathon Petroleum Company in Robinson, Illinois. Marathon is a refining, marketing and transportation company. The president’s rejection of the Keystone project will have a substantial impact on the local economy, both in direct and indirect jobs.

Jay Churchill

Mr. Churchill is the Manager of Conoco Phillips’ Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Illinois, approximately 15 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri. The oil refinery recently expanded to be one of the largest in the U.S., in part to help handle additional capacity from Keystone pipeline and the oil from the oil sands.

Dale Delie

Mr. Delie is President of Welspun Tubular LLC, a subsidiary of Welspun Corp. Ltd, located in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is the second-largest diameter pipe producer in the world. In December, the company was forced to lay off 60 workers because of the president’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Sen. Chris Langemeier

Senator Langemeier is a member of the Nebraska State Legislature, where he serves as chairman of the Natural Resources Committee. Senator Langemeier is a strong supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline and was the author of compromise legislation that paved the way for a new pipeline route in the state.

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