The White House announced on Wednesday that it would expedite the approval process for the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, but the company building the pipeline says the move will do nothing to speed its construction.

President Obama looked to use the stunt as a way to counter critics who say he has stymied the development of fossil fuels even as gas prices are at record highs. But as Heritage’s Nick Loris noted Wednesday, you can’t expedite a project by rejecting it. If the president were concerned with the country’s oil supply, his State Department shouldn’t have rejected the larger pipeline project.

The president’s enthusiastic backing of the portion of the pipeline running from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast won’t actually speed pipeline construction, according to TransCanada, the company building it.

President Barack Obama’s promise to expedite review of the southern leg of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL pipeline won’t speed up the timeline for the project, which already is slated to start construction as soon as June…

TransCanada’s president of energy and oil pipelines, Alex Pourbaix, said in an interview March 6 that construction on the Cushing phase of Keystone could begin as soon as June. The company doesn’t expect the new review process to change that schedule, Cunha said yesterday.

The Cushing phase would have continued apace without presidential action, but Obama looked to take credit for some portion of the project, which Americans support by a 2-1 margin, according to Gallup.

The tactic is similar to the president’s repeated claims that fossil fuel production has increased under his administration. While technically true, he neglects to mention that the majority of that increase has occurred on private lands, over which he has no authority. On federal land, fossil fuel production is at a nine-year low.