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Entries in Clean Energy (8)

Thursday
May242012

President Obama Touts Clean Energy Agenda in Iowa

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEWTON, Iowa) -- Visiting the critical battleground state of Iowa Thursday, President Obama touted his election-year energy agenda and urged Republican lawmakers to put politics aside and back his proposals to boost the economy.

“Too many of my Republican friends in Congress are standing in the way.  They either want to do nothing at all or they want to double down on the same failed policies that got us into this mess,” the president told workers in the blue-collar town of Newton, Iowa.

Obama has been publicly pushing lawmakers to act on his “honey-do” list for Congress, five items that he has been promoting for months, but that have gained little traction on Capitol Hill.

“There are only five things on it -- I didn’t want to overload Congress with too much at once,” Obama said of his wish list. “But they’re ideas that will make a difference -- right now -- and we shouldn’t need to wait for an election to get them done.”

Speaking at TPI Composites, a wind turbine manufacturer, the president called for lawmakers to extend tax credits for clean energy companies that are set to expire at the end of the year.

“If Congress doesn’t act, companies like this one will take a hit,” he said. “Jobs will be lost.  That’s not a guess.  That’s a fact.  And we can’t let that happen.  We can’t walk away from these jobs.  Congress should extend these tax credits, and they should do it now.”

The Production Tax Credit, which was first passed in 1992 and was extended with bipartisan support several times since, gives a financial boost to wind farm owners competing with cheaper sources of non-renewable energy.  It was originally sponsored by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who backs Obama’s call for another extension.

The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit offers incentives to manufacturers of wind energy parts, like TPI Composites, that supply the equipment needed for wind farms.

Both are set to expire unless Congress acts.  Advocates say letting them lapse would endanger the industry and thousands of jobs, including some of the estimated 6,000 in Iowa’s wind energy sector. Critics, meanwhile, say the U.S. should focus resources on cultivation of other energies such as cheap natural gas.

Obama is using the issue to highlight an area of common ground with Republicans and trying to appeal to some of Iowa’s critical swing voters.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, supports the tax credit extension and has lobbied Congress to get it done.

Grassley, while praising Obama’s support for the credits, said the visit to Iowa to push for them was more politicking than policy.

“I’m glad the president likes Iowa, but his visit won’t have much to do with getting the wind energy tax credit extended,” he said. “He could travel down the street from the White House to the Capitol and talk to the congressional leadership instead, especially in the Senate, controlled by his party.”

Obama will formally campaign for his re-election in Des Moines, Iowa, at a grassroots rally on the state fairgrounds later Thursday night.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar102012

Obama’s Weekly Address – Investing in Clean Energy

Official White House Photo/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is calling for Congress to end $4 billion in subsidies to oil and gas companies, and invest in clean energy instead, arguing that decreasing the nation’s dependence on oil will ease the pain at the pump.

“We’ve been handing out these kinds of taxpayer giveaways for nearly a century. And outside Congress, does anyone really think that’s still a good idea?” the president asked in his weekly address.

“We should be investing in the technology that’s building the cars and trucks and jets that will prevent us from dealing with these high gas prices year after year after year,” he said.

As rising gas prices become a key issue on the campaign trail, the president continued to defend his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy against Republican attacks.

“As usual, politicians have been rolling out their three-point plans for $2 gas: drill, drill and drill some more. Well, my response is, we have been drilling,” the president said. “Under my administration, oil production in America is at an eight-year high.”

Obama, speaking from a manufacturing facility in Petersburg, Va., that he visited Friday, vowed to “keep doing everything I can to help you save money on gas, both right now and in the future.”

“I hope politicians from both sides of the aisle join me. Let’s put aside the bumper-sticker slogans, remember why we’re here, and get things done for the American people,” he concluded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
May072011

Obama's Weekly Address: Clean Energy Jobs are the Jobs of the Future

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking in his weekly address on Saturday, President Obama said that although the economy wasn’t the main news story of the past week, he remains focused on the issue.

Speaking from the Allison Transmissions plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, the president said he chose to visit the facility because it was a place where workers were doing "big and impressive things.”

“The clean energy jobs at this plant are the jobs of the future – jobs that pay well right here in America,” Obama said. “And in the years ahead, it’s clean energy companies like this one that will keep our economy growing, create new jobs, and make sure America remains the most prosperous nation in the world.”

President Obama said while there are no quick fixes to the problem of rising gas prices, the government is doing its part to boost safe and responsible oil production here in the U.S.
 
“…over the long term, the only way we can avoid being held hostage to the ups and downs of oil prices is if we reduce our dependence on oil,” said. “That means investing in clean, alternative sources of energy, like advanced biofuels and natural gas.”

Obama said cutting investment in clean energy is not something that he supported.

“I absolutely agree that the only way we’ll be able to afford the things we need is by cutting the things we don’t and living within our means. But I refuse to cut investments like clean energy that will help us out-innovate and out-compete the rest of the world.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr192011

BP Oil Spill Complicates Obama's Clean Energy Push

U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One year after the largest oil spill in the nation's history began unfolding along the Gulf Coast, George Moorman of Lucedale, Mississippi, says he and hundreds of other former BP sub-contractors hired to clean up the mess continue to suffer from its consequences.

"It's horrible down there, still," Moorman, 52, told ABC News as he took part in a protest Monday outside the White House.  He said oil continues to wash ashore along with dead wildlife, and that the workers who toiled in 100-degree heat for months last summer have become sick after inhaling the toxic fumes.

"We're not here to get a check.  We're here to get it right," he said.

The refrain has become a common one for victims of the spill and eco-activists who say the Obama administration and Congress have failed to keep their promises of tougher environmental regulation and new policies to wean the country from its addiction to oil.

There has been no major legislative action on the environment in the past year, despite Obama's calls to curtail offshore drilling and promote ambitious new goals for clean energy.

The House passed the Waxman-Markey energy bill in 2009, which would among other things, cap emissions and increase energy efficiency in buildings, home appliances and power plants.  But Democrats failed in several attempts to move similar legislation in the Senate, and with the Republican takeover of the House, prospects now seem even dimmer.

Louisiana Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter introduced a bill last week that would direct 80 percent of the penalties BP pays under the Clean Water Act toward restoring the coastal ecosystem and the region's economy.  Landrieu and Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, plan to introduce another bill that would lift the cap on liability for offshore oil spills.

But for many, the piecemeal approach is not enough.  And they blame the White House for not taking a more aggressive stance.

"Congress is subsidizing BP with billions of dollars," said Courtney Hight, executive director of the Energy Action Coalition and a former organizer for the Obama campaign.  "We need President Obama to stand with us, stand against polluters and make them pay."

Hight and other activists have accused the administration of being too friendly to major American energy companies, citing the inclusion of so-called clean coal, natural gas and nuclear power under the umbrella of a "clean energy" plan Obama rolled out last month.

They're also frustrated the administration is siding with major energy companies in a major Supreme Court case brought by environmental groups seeking the ability to sue over pollution levels.  The Obama administration wants the Environmental Protection Agency, not the courts, to retain regulatory power.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr022011

Obama's Weekly Address: Goals for a Clean Energy Economy  

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(LANDOVER, Md.) -- President Obama keeps up the energy focus with his weekly address, repeating the theme of his week to decrease the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

"Real energy security can only come if we find ways to use less oil -- if we invest in cleaner fuels and greater efficiency."

Taped from the UPS customer center in Landover, Md., the president repeats his goal -- outlined in his "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future" -- of cutting oil imports by one-third in a little over a decade.  At the time of his election, the U.S. imported 11 million barrels of oil each day.

"By doing so, we’re going to make our economy less vulnerable to wild swings in oil prices.  We’re going to use cleaner sources of energy that don’t imperil our climate.  And we’re going to spark new products and businesses all over the country by tapping America’s greatest renewable resource: our ingenuity."

The president notes that drilling alone is not going to replace American dependence on foreign oil.  Obama says that using less oil and investing in cleaner fuels will lead to "real energy security."  He then highlights an agreement secured since he took office with major auto companies requiring them to raise fuel efficiency in their vehicles.  Now, President Obama says, this will save Americans "about 1.8 billion barrels of oil as a country."

Mr. Obama says he plans to build on this progress and "harness new technologies to fuel our vehicles with everything from biofuels to natural gas to advanced batteries."

Obama concludes his address challenging Americans to keep up the momentum after learning the economy had added 230,000 private sector jobs last month for a total of 1.8 million private sector jobs in the last 13 months.

"That's a good sign," he says. "But we have to keep up the momentum, and transitioning to a clean energy economy will help us do just that.  It will ensure that the United States of America is home to the jobs and industries of tomorrow. That's how we'll win the future."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb182011

Battle Over Clean Energy: Next Partisan Fight?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House Republicans' 2011 budget proposal, which proposes deep cuts in clean energy programs, threatens President Obama's goals and sets the stage for a battle between Republicans and Democrats to define the country's energy agenda.

The House Republicans' continuing resolution that would fund the government until October is unlikely to pass in the Senate, and the president threatened to veto it this week.

But the budget bill, which calls for hefty cuts in energy and environmental research, indicates that finding common ground on the subject may not be an easy task.

"By 2035, 80 percent of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources," President Obama said last month in his State of the Union address. "Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all, and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen."

But the Republican agenda slashes nearly $889 million from energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and cuts billions from federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency. It bars the EPA from using Congressional funds to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act or from denying or approving state implementation plans or permits, and takes away $3 billion from the agency's budget.

It cuts back funding for energy, water and science programs, and reduces funding for non-core research and federal loan guarantees for lower-demand programs, including those related to the energy and environment. Most committees are prohibited from starting new programs without approval.

Democrats charge that the Republicans' agenda will halt projects already in the works and make it difficult for the Energy Department to guarantee loans. Others say it will halt job creation and curb U.S. global competitiveness.

Experts say there is likely to be a mix of targeted efforts going forward, but whether they are successful in the current polarized political environment remains to be seen.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan262011

Obama Takes State Of The Union Message To Wisconsin

File Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MANITOWOC, Wisc.) -- President Obama continued to press the themes of his State of the Union address Wednesday, telling workers at Orion Energy Systems in Manitowoc, Wis. that they exemplify the goals outlined in Tuesday night’s address to the nation.

“We need to get behind clean energy companies like Orion. We need to get behind innovation,” Obama said. “That’s how we’ll meet the goal I set last night and make sure 80 percent of America’s electricity comes from clean energy sources by 2035.”

“I came here to Manitowoc to glimpse that future,” the president declared.

Just as he did in his address Tuesday night, Obama harkened back to Sputnik, explaining “It was right here, almost 50 years ago -- I couldn’t have made this up. It wasn’t until I was on my way here that I found out that a chunk of metal came crashing down to the Earth right here.  I promise you, we did not plan this originally… It turns out that it was part of a satellite called Sputnik that landed right here, and that set the Space Race into motion.  So I want to say to you today that it is here, more than 50 years later, that the race for the 21st century will be won.”

However, Obama was blunt that the U.S. has some catching up to do. "China is making these investments.  They have already captured a big chunk of the solar market partly because we fell down on the job.  We weren’t moving as fast as we should have.  Those are jobs that could be created right here that are getting shipped.”

Orion is a solar and power technology company plus, as the president explained after touring their factory, “the plant is just very cool.”

The president praised the determination and hard work of Orion’s CEO Neal Verfuerth, and adopted his catch phrase “at Orion…we play to win.”

“That’s what sets Neal apart. That’s what sets Orion apart. But that’s also what sets America apart,” Obama explained. “Here in America, we play to win. We don’t play not to lose.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct022010

Obama: GOP 'Pledge' to Scrap Clean Energy Projects 'Doesn't Make Sense'

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama blasted the Republicans’ “Pledge to America” for proposing to scrap incentives for clean energy projects.

“In the pledge they recently released, the Republican leadership is promising to scrap all the incentives for clean energy projects, including those currently underway -- even with all the jobs and potential that they hold,” Obama said. “To go backwards and scrap these plans means handing the competitive edge to China and other nations," he said. "It means that we’ll grow even more dependent on foreign oil.  And, at a time of economic hardship, it means forgoing jobs we desperately need.”

Republicans countered that their "pledge" only calls to cancel unspent stimulus funds, not all incentives for clean energy projects.

“House Republicans’ ‘all of the above’ energy plan would actually put more money into renewable technologies, paid for by the oil industry," said Michael Steel, spokesman to House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, in a statement. "Everyone knows that the president’s trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ didn’t work, by the standards his own administration set.  False attacks won’t distract the American people asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ when it is clear the president has no new answers.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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