This morning President Obama outlined his energy and environmental policy and how it fit into his broader effort to jump start our flailing economy. It was a like taking a breath of fresh air to hear someone actually addressing the environmental problems we face reasonably. Finally!
He focused on the problems we face as an opportunity to secure our interests and security, create jobs, and restore America’s moral standing in the world. Outlining his plan in four pragmatic steps, he stated unequivocally that “it will be the policy of [his] administration to reverse our dependence on foreign oil while building a new energy economy that will create millions of jobs.”
1) The plan aims to create 460,000 jobs that will provide the workforce to double the domestic production capacity of energy. Among the projects he listed were 3000 miles of transmission lines to move this energy and to increase the energy efficiency of government buildings and private residences.
2) It aims to revitalize the American Auto Industry by encouraging energy efficient innovation, hoping the new cars will be produced in the US and meet more stringent emissions standards by model year 2011. He ended by saying that by 2020 all cars would get at least 35 mpg, reducing daily oil consumptions by 2 million barrels a day.
3) Referencing the Bush Era EPA’s rejection of California’s and 13 other state’s waiver requests to increase emissions standards, he said “Washington stood in their way”. California had sued the EPA for inaction…it took them two years to review their application. And they rejected it. He wants the EPA to empower rather than stifle states to make these changes. He said that the EPA will review the California waiver rejection and insinuated that it would be approved.
4) He argued that energy independence was important to secure our interests and safety, as hostile governments maintain power over the US because we depend on them for oil. Dwindling resources, hostile regimes, and unhealthy climate problems are the facts that underpin his plan and it is his intention to use these to guide pragmatic problem solving. He emphasized that facts, not ideology would be used to inform the conversation on these issues. (What a concept!) He said the aim ought to be for America to set the standard and call nations like India and China to greater participation in what needs to be a global effort to clean up our environment.
Mirroring the talking points of Public Citizen, Mr. Obama has taken the first sensible step toward a real remedy for this problem. We are happy to see someone is finally thinking in the Whitehouse. How refreshing…
You can read the president’s full remarks here.
Go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/energy_and_environment/ to see the Obama/Biden Energy and Environmental Plan.