Obama, in Speech, Defends ‘All Of The Above’ Energy Plan

National Journal
Ben Geman
Jan. 28, 2014, 4:29 p.m.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4688) }}

Pres­id­ent Obama is re­buff­ing en­vir­on­ment­al­ists who want him to aban­don his sup­port for do­mest­ic oil-and-gas drilling.

But he’s pledging wil­der­ness pro­tec­tion and call­ing for new steps to en­sure the na­tion’s gas pro­duc­tion surge doesn’t strand com­munit­ies when the boom times end.

“The all-of-the-above en­ergy strategy I an­nounced a few years ago is work­ing, and today, Amer­ica is closer to en­ergy in­de­pend­ence than we’ve been in dec­ades,” Obama said in Tues­day’s State of the Uni­on ad­dress.

The speech ar­rives shortly after ma­jor green groups called on Obama to ditch the “all of the above” policy that backs fossil-fuel de­vel­op­ment along­side the green en­ergy sources that en­vir­on­ment­al­ists em­brace.

But Obama noted that, “if ex­trac­ted safely,” nat­ur­al gas is “the bridge fuel that can power our eco­nomy with less of the car­bon pol­lu­tion that causes cli­mate change.”

He also touted safe­guards. “My ad­min­is­tra­tion will keep work­ing with the in­dustry to sus­tain pro­duc­tion and job growth while strength­en­ing pro­tec­tion of our air, our wa­ter, and our com­munit­ies,” he said.

In a “fact sheet” dis­trib­uted along­side the speech, the White House called on Con­gress to help cre­ate “sus­tain­able shale gas growth zones.”

The White House said this would help “re­gions come to­geth­er to make sure shale gas is de­veloped in a safe, re­spons­ible way that helps build di­verse and re­si­li­ent re­gion­al eco­nom­ies that can with­stand boom-and-bust cycles and can be lead­ers in build­ing and de­ploy­ing clean en­ergy tech­no­lo­gies.”

As part of his pro­mo­tion of nat­ur­al gas, the White House said Obama would pro­pose new in­cent­ives for me­di­um- and heavy-duty trucks to run on nat­ur­al gas or oth­er al­tern­at­ive fuels.

Obama said Con­gress can cre­ate jobs by “build­ing fuel­ing sta­tions that shift more cars and trucks from for­eign oil to Amer­ic­an nat­ur­al gas.”

Obama pro­moted the na­tion’s oil-pro­duc­tion boom early in the speech, not­ing that the U.S. is pro­du­cing more oil than im­ports for the first time in roughly two dec­ades.

However, he also hin­ted at great­er use of ex­ec­ut­ive powers to pro­tect wil­der­ness. “I’ll use my au­thor­ity to pro­tect more of our pristine fed­er­al lands for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” he said.

Else­where, Obama high­lighted an­oth­er ma­jor ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tion un­der­way: planned En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency rules that will im­pose car­bon-emis­sions stand­ards on power plants. The com­ments come as the planned reg­u­la­tions face in­creas­ing at­tacks from Re­pub­lic­ans and in­dustry groups.

“Over the past eight years, the United States has re­duced our total car­bon pol­lu­tion more than any oth­er na­tion on Earth. But we have to act with more ur­gency — be­cause a chan­ging cli­mate is already harm­ing west­ern com­munit­ies strug­gling with drought, and coastal cit­ies deal­ing with floods. That’s why I dir­ec­ted my ad­min­is­tra­tion to work with states, util­it­ies, and oth­ers to set new stand­ards on the amount of car­bon pol­lu­tion our power plants are al­lowed to dump in­to the air,” Obama said.

The text of the speech is avail­able here.

What We're Following See More »
Kristol Recruiting National Review’s David French for Third-Party Run
8 hours ago

"Two Republicans intimately familiar with Bill Kristol’s efforts to recruit an independent presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have told Bloomberg Politics that the person Kristol has in mind is David French -- whose name the editor of the Weekly Standard floated in the current issue of the magazine.

French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the website of National Review, where French is a staff writer, he is a constitutional lawyer, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and an author of several books who lives in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Nancy and three children."

Jerry Brown Backs Clinton
10 hours ago

California Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary Clinton today, calling her "the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump." While praising Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign, Brown said "Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee. ... This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun."

Clinton Says Voters Still Hung Up on Gender
13 hours ago

In a New York Magazine profile, Hillary Clinton said she still encounters misogyny at her own events: “‘I really admire you, I really like you, I just don’t know if I can vote for a woman to be president.’ I mean, they come to my events and then they say that to me.”

Trump Vows Not to Change
13 hours ago
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
4 days ago

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”