Monday, April 5, 2010

Energy & Environment

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 31, 2010
Remarks by The President on Energy Security at Andrews Air Force Base, 3/31/2010
11:18 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. (Applause.) Please have a seat. I've got a few introductions that I want to make very quickly before I start my remarks. First of all, I think that by the end of his tenure we're going to know that Ken Salazar is one of the finest Secretaries of Interior we've ever had. So please give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)

Other members of what we call our green team are here: Steven Chu, our Secretary of Energy; Martha Johnson, the Administrator of the GSA; Nancy Sutley, the CEQ Chair. We've got Carol Browner, who’s the White House Energy and Climate Change Director. Please give them a big round of applause. They put in a lot of work. (Applause.)

Governor Martin O’Malley is here, governor of Maryland. (Applause.) Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, is here. (Applause.) Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, is here, and we appreciate his outstanding service. Thank you, Gar. (Applause.)

I want to thank Steven Shepro, the base commander here at Andrews, and the leadership that's present from the Air Force, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard.

Ken and I were colleagues in the Senate, and I appointed him because I knew that he would be a faithful and pragmatic steward of our natural resources. And as Secretary, he is changing the way that the Interior Department does business so that we’re responsibly developing traditional sources of energy and renewable sources of energy, from the wind on the high plains to the suns in the desert to the waves off our coasts. And so I'm very grateful to the work that he’s done in culminating in one of the announcements that we’re making today.

It’s also good to see so many members of our Armed Forces here today. Andrews is the home of Air Force One, and I appreciate everything that you do for me and my family. I should point out that you’ve got a 100-percent on-time departure record. (Laughter.) You don’t charge for luggage -- (laughter) -- so it’s a pretty good deal. And I want to thank you not only for the support that you provide me, but also for the service that you perform to keep our country safe each and every day. So I'm very grateful to all of you.

We’re here to talk about America’s energy security, an issue that’s been a priority for my administration since the day I took office. Already, we’ve made the largest investment in clean energy in our nation’s history. It’s an investment that’s expected to create or save more than 700,000 jobs across America -- jobs manufacturing advanced batteries for more efficient vehicles; upgrading the power grid so that it’s smarter and it’s stronger; doubling our nation’s capacity to generate renewable electricity from sources like the wind and the sun.

And just a few months after taking office, I also gathered the leaders of the world’s largest automakers, the heads of labor unions, environmental advocates, and public officials from California and across the country to reach a historic agreement to raise fuel economy standards in cars and trucks. And tomorrow, after decades in which we have done little to increase auto efficiency, those new standards will be finalized, which will reduce our dependence on oil while helping folks spend a little less at the pump.

So my administration is upholding its end of the deal, and we expect all parties to do the same. And I’d also point out this rule that we’re going to be announcing about increased mileage standards will save 1.8 billion -- billion barrels of oil overall -- 1.8 billion barrels of oil. And that’s like taking 58 million cars off the road for an entire year.

Today, we’re also going to go one step further. In order to save energy and taxpayer dollars, my administration -- led by Secretary Chu at Energy, as well as Administrator Johnson at GSA -- is doubling the number of hybrid vehicles in the federal fleet, even as we seek to reduce the number of cars and trucks used by our government overall. So we’re going to lead by example and practice what we preach: cutting waste, saving energy, and reducing our reliance on foreign oil.

But we have to do more. We need to make continued investments in clean coal technologies and advanced biofuels. A few weeks ago, I announced loan guarantees to break ground on America’s first new nuclear facility in three decades, a project that will create thousands of jobs. And in the short term, as we transition to cleaner energy sources, we’ve still got to make some tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development in ways that protect communities and protect coastlines.

This is not a decision that I’ve made lightly. It’s one that Ken and I -- as well as Carol Browner, my energy advisor, and others in my administration -- looked at closely for more than a year. But the bottom line is this: Given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth and produce jobs, and keep our businesses competitive, we are going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy.

So today we’re announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration, but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America’s natural resources. Under the leadership of Secretary Salazar, we’ll employ new technologies that reduce the impact of oil exploration. We’ll protect areas that are vital to tourism, the environment, and our national security. And we’ll be guided not by political ideology, but by scientific evidence.

That's why my administration will consider potential areas for development in the mid and south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, while studying and protecting sensitive areas in the Arctic. That’s why we’ll continue to support development of leased areas off the North Slope of Alaska, while protecting Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

There will be those who strongly disagree with this decision, including those who say we should not open any new areas to drilling. But what I want to emphasize is that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy. And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and the long run. To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake.

On the other side, there are going to be some who argue that we don’t go nearly far enough; who suggest we should open all our waters to energy exploration without any restriction or regard for the broader environmental and economic impact. And to those folks I’ve got to say this: We have less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves; we consume more than 20 percent of the world’s oil. And what that means is that drilling alone can’t come close to meeting our long-term energy needs. And for the sake of our planet and our energy independence, we need to begin the transition to cleaner fuels now.

So the answer is not drilling everywhere all the time. But the answer is not, also, for us to ignore the fact that we are going to need vital energy sources to maintain our economic growth and our security. Ultimately, we need to move beyond the tired debates of the left and the right, between business leaders and environmentalists, between those who would claim drilling is a cure all and those who would claim it has no place. Because this issue is just too important to allow our progress to languish while we fight the same old battles over and over again.

For decades we’ve talked about how our dependence on foreign oil threatens our economy -– yet our will to act rises and falls with the price of a barrel of oil. When gas gets expensive at the pump, suddenly everybody is an energy expert. And when it goes back down, everybody is back to their old habits.

For decades we’ve talked about the threat to future generations posed by our current system of energy –- even as we can see the mounting evidence of climate change from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf Coast. And this is particularly relevant to all of you who are serving in uniform: For decades, we’ve talked about the risks to our security created by dependence on foreign oil, but that dependence has actually grown year after year after year after year.

And while our politics has remained entrenched along these worn divides, the ground has shifted beneath our feet. Around the world, countries are seeking an edge in the global marketplace by investing in new ways of producing and saving energy. From China to Germany, these nations recognize that the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the country that leads the global economy. And meanwhile, here at home, as politicians in Washington debate endlessly about whether to act, our own military has determined that we can no longer afford not to.

Some of the press may be wondering why we are announcing offshore drilling in a hangar at Andrews Air Force Base. Well, if there’s any doubt about the leadership that our military is showing, you just need to look at this F-18 fighter and the light-armored vehicle behind me. The Army and Marine Corps have been testing this vehicle on a mixture of biofuels. And this Navy fighter jet -- appropriately called the Green Hornet -- will be flown for the first time in just a few days, on Earth Day. If tests go as planned, it will be the first plane ever to fly faster than the speed of sound on a fuel mix that is half biomass. The Air Force is also testing jet engines using biofuels and had the first successful biofuel-powered test flight just last week. I don’t want to drum up any kind of rivalry here, but -- (laughter.)

Now, the Pentagon isn’t seeking these alternative fuels just to protect our environment; they’re pursuing these homegrown energy sources to protect our national security. Our military leaders recognize the security imperative of increasing the use of alternative fuels, decreasing energy use, reducing our reliance on imported oil, making ourselves more energy-efficient. That’s why the Navy, led by Secretary Mabus, who’s here today, has set a goal of using 50-percent alternative fuels in all planes, vehicles, and ships in the next 10 years. That’s why the Defense Department has invested $2.7 billion this year alone to improve energy efficiency.

So moving towards clean energy is about our security. It’s also about our economy. And it’s about the future of our planet. And what I hope is, is the policies that we’ve laid out -- from hybrid fleets to offshore drilling, from nuclear energy to wind energy -- underscores the seriousness with which my administration takes this challenge. It’s a challenge that requires us to break out of the old ways of thinking, to think and act anew. And it requires each of us, regardless of whether we’re in the private sector or the public sector, whether we’re in the military or in the civilian side of government, to think about how could we be doing things better, how could we be doing things smarter -- so that we are no longer tethered to the whims of what happens somewhere in the Middle East or with other major oil-producing nations.

So I’m open to proposals from my Democratic friends and my Republican friends. I think that we can break out of the broken politics of the past when it comes to our energy policy. I know that we can come together to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation that’s going to foster new energy -- new industries, create millions of new jobs, protect our planet, and help us become more energy independent. That’s what we can do. That is what we must do. And I’m confident that is what we will do.

So thank you very much. And thanks, again, to all of you who are serving in our Armed Services. You are making an enormous contribution, and this is just one example of the leadership that you’re showing.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

11:33 A.M. EDT

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 31, 2010
Obama Administration Announces Comprehensive Strategy for Energy Security
Decisions expand domestic production, promote efficiency

Washington D.C. --- As part of the Administration’s comprehensive energy strategy President Barack Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced more details of the Obama Administration’s efforts to strengthen our energy security. President Obama and Secretary Salazar announced that the Administration will expand oil and gas development and exploration on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to enhance our nation’s energy independence while protecting fisheries, tourism, and places off U.S. coasts that are not appropriate for development. Also included in the announcement are landmark car and truck fuel standards, key efforts being carried out by the Department of Defense to enhance energy security, and an effort to green the federal vehicle fleet. Details are below.

“I want to emphasize that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies on homegrown fuels and clean energy. And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and the long term. To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake,” said President Obama.

Over the last year, under the leadership of Secretary Salazar, the Administration has worked to reevaluate previous decisions in an effort to set oil and gas drilling policies on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, and take environmental risks and responsibilities into account.

“By responsibly expanding conventional energy development and exploration here at home we can strengthen our energy security, create jobs, and help rebuild our economy,” said Salazar. “Our strategy calls for developing new areas offshore, exploring frontier areas, and protecting places that are too special to drill. By providing order and certainty to offshore exploration and development and ensuring we are drilling in the right ways and the right places, we are opening a new chapter for balanced and responsible oil and gas development here at home.”

The President will highlight today additional key measures that will boost domestic energy production, diversify America’s energy portfolio and promote clean energy innovation.

Background on Today’s Announcements:
More Domestic Production – Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing: The Administration’s strategy calls for developing oil and gas resources in new areas, such as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico; increasing oil and gas exploration in frontier areas, such as parts of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans; and protecting ocean areas that are simply too special to drill, such as Alaska’s Bristol Bay. The strategy will guide the current 2007-2012 offshore oil and gas leasing program, as well as the new 2012-2017 program that this administration will propose. More specific details on this plan are available at

Landmark Car and Truck Fuel Standards – Finalized EPA/DOT CAFE and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards: On April 1st, EPA and DOT will sign a joint final rule establishing greenhouse gas emission standards and corporate average fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles for model years 2012-2016. Announced last May, the rule is a product of a historic deal between the Obama Administration, the State of California, and automakers to bring regulatory certainty to the automotive market while increasing fuel efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, and ensuring consumer choice and savings. This measure is expected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program.

Leading by Example – Greening the Federal Fleet: Last year, President Obama issued Executive Order 13514 asking Federal agencies to lead by example towards a clean energy economy. GSA and DOE are doing just that. As a result of their combined efforts we have doubled the Federal hybrid vehicle fleet and before the end of the year we’ll purchase the first 100 plug-in electric vehicles to roll off American assembly lines. Additionally, agencies are: Purchasing hybrid instead of conventional cars and trucks that use more fuel; Downsizing vehicle fleets overall; and requiring plug-in electric charging stations for all new facilities and for major retrofits.

Department of Defense Energy Security Strategic Emphasis: The recently released Quadrennial Defense Review makes clear that crafting a strategic approach to energy and climate change is a high priority for the Department of Defense (DoD). This reflects mission considerations above all. The Department’s own analysis confirms what outside experts have long warned: our military’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels creates significant risks and costs at a tactical as well as a strategic level. The DoD is actively pursuing strategic initiatives to enhance energy security and independence and reduce harmful emissions, including encouraging the development and use of domestically produced advanced biofuels. You can learn more about DoD’s energy initiatives here.


The White House Blog

Clean Energy Economy Powering Recovery

Posted by Heather Zichal on April 02, 2010 at 01:20 PM EDT

Today, President Obama visited workers at Charlotte, North Carolina-based Celgard, Inc. and delivered remarks on jobs and the economy. Celgard is a global leader in the development and production of components for state-of-the-art batteries - batteries that will help fuel a clean energy economy and create jobs. (Watch a personal testimonial by Celgard’s workers on the role the Recovery Act played in their employment).

It is American innovative companies like this that are developing the technologies and industries that will power the global economy in the 21st Century. With the help of a $50 million American Recovery and Reinvest Act grant under the Department of Energy’s Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative, Celgard is not only adding nearly 300 jobs – and more than a thousand jobs for contractors and suppliers – but it is also helping America build the batteries that will power cleaner and more efficient cars and trucks. Before the Recovery Act, we had the capacity to make less than 2 percent of the world’s lithium ion batteries. In the next 5 years, we’ll be able to make 40 percent of these advanced batteries right here in the United States, so we are not just talking about creating jobs in the near-term, but also sustained growth and opportunity in the long run.

Celgard is just one of dozens of electric drive vehicle battery and component manufacturers benefiting from Recovery Act investments and contributing to the reduction in the use of oil and greenhouse gas emissions. Advanced batteries, capable of meeting standards for durability, performance, and weight, are a key technology for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles capable of getting up to 100 miles per gallon.

As the President said in his energy security remarks on Wednesday, the Administration’s efforts are all part of a comprehensive energy plan. A plan that reduces dependence on foreign oil, increases domestic energy production, improves energy efficiency…all while developing the new technologies and industries that will drive the global clean energy economy and create millions of new jobs here in America.

Heather Zichal is Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change

Energy & Environment

"So we have a choice to make. We can remain one of the world's leading importers of foreign oil, or we can make the investments that would allow us to become the world's leading exporter of renewable energy. We can let climate change continue to go unchecked, or we can help stop it. We can let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad, or we can create those jobs right here in America and lay the foundation for lasting prosperity."

-President Obama, March 19, 2009


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included more than $80 billion in clean energy investments that will jump-start our economy and build the clean energy jobs of tomorrow:
$11 billion for a bigger, better, and smarter grid that will move renewable energy from the rural places it is produced to the cities where it is mostly used, as well as for 40 million smart meters to be deployed in American homes.
$5 billion for low-income home weatherization projects.
$4.5 billion to green federal buildings and cut our energy bill, saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

$6.3 billion for state and local renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts.
$600 million in green job training programs – $100 million to expand line worker training programs and $500 million for green workforce training.
$2 billion in competitive grants to develop the next generation of batteries to store energy.

Increasing, for the first time in more than a decade, the fuel economy standards for Model Year 2011 for cars and trucks so they will get better mileage, saving drivers money and spurring companies to develop more innovative products.
The President issued a memorandum to the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances, like dishwashers and refrigerators. Through this step, over the next three decades, we’ll save twice the amount of energy produced by all the coal-fired power plants in America in any given year.

Supporting the first steps of a legally-binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide.

On Earth Day 2009, the President unveiled a program to develop the renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. These regulations will enable, for the first time ever, the nation to tap into our ocean’s vast sustainable resources to generate clean energy in an environmentally sound and safe manner.

Guiding Principles

To take this country in a new direction, the President is working with Congress to pass comprehensive legislation to protect our nation from the serious economic and strategic risks associated with our reliance on foreign oil and the destabilizing effects of a changing climate. Policies to advance energy and climate security should promote economic recovery efforts, accelerate job creation, and drive clean energy manufacturing by:

Investing in the Clean Energy Jobs of the Future
President Obama does not accept a future in which the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders. It is time for the United States to lead again. Under President Obama, we will lead again, by developing an American clean energy industry, a 21st century economy that flourishes within our borders.

Creating new Jobs in the Clean Energy Economy. Drive the development of new, green jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced.
Investing in the Next Generation of Energy Technologies. Invest $150 billion over ten years in energy research and development to transition to a clean energy economy.

Securing our Energy Future

Our reliance on oil poses a threat to our economic security. Over the last few decades, we have watched our economy rise and fall along with the price of a barrel of oil. We must commit ourselves to an economic future in which the strength of our economy is not tied to the unpredictability of oil markets. We must make the investments in clean energy sources that will curb our dependence on fossil fuels and make America energy independent.

Breaking Dependence on Oil. Promote the next generation of cars and trucks and the fuels they run on.

Producing More Energy at Home. Enhance U.S. energy supplies through responsible development of domestic renewable energy, fossil fuels, advanced biofuels and nuclear energy.

Promoting Energy Efficiency. Promote investments in the transportation, electricity, industrial, building and agricultural sectors that reduce energy bills.

Closing the Carbon Loophole and Cracking Down on Polluters

We must take immediate action to reduce the carbon pollution that threatens our climate and sustains our dependence on fossil fuels. We have had limits in place on pollutants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other harmful emissions for some time. After decades of inaction, we will finally close the carbon pollution loophole by limiting the amount of carbon polluters are allowed to pump into the atmosphere.

Closing the Carbon Loophole. By stemming carbon pollution through a market-based cap, we can address in a systematic way all the energy challenges that we face: curbing our dependence on foreign oil, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and promoting new industries right here in America.
Protecting American Consumers. Revenues generated by closing the carbon loophole will be returned to the people, especially vulnerable families, communities, and businesses.

Promoting U.S. Competitiveness. Ensure a level playing field for domestic manufacturing and secure significant actions to combat climate change by our trading partners.