Full Text Obama Presidency March 29, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Calls on Congress to End Oil and Gas Subsidies

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Speaks on Repealing Subsidies for Oil Companies

President Obama Speaks on Repealing Subsidies for Oil Companies

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Oil and Gas Subsidies

Rose Garden

11:00 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)   Everybody, please have a seat.  Sorry we’re running just a little bit behind, but I figured it’s a great day to enjoy the Rose Garden.

Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make:  They can stand with the big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.

Right now, the biggest oil companies are raking in record profits –- profits that go up every time folks pull up into a gas station.  But on top of these record profits, oil companies are also getting billions a year — billions a year in taxpayer subsidies -– a subsidy that they’ve enjoyed year after year for the last century.

Think about that.  It’s like hitting the American people twice.  You’re already paying a premium at the pump right now.  And on top of that, Congress, up until this point, has thought it was a good idea to send billions of dollars more in tax dollars to the oil industry.

It’s not as if these companies can’t stand on their own.  Last year, the three biggest U.S. oil companies took home more than $80 billion in profits.  Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour.  And when the price of oil goes up, prices at the pump go up, and so do these companies’ profits.  In fact, one analysis shows that every time gas goes up by a penny, these companies usually pocket another $200 million in quarterly profits.  Meanwhile, these companies pay a lower tax rate than most other companies on their investments, partly because we’re giving them billions in tax giveaways every year.

Now, I want to make clear, we all know that drilling for oil has to be a key part of our overall energy strategy.  We want U.S. oil companies to be doing well.  We want them to succeed.  That’s why under my administration, we’ve opened up millions of acres of federal lands and waters to oil and gas production.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.  We’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some.  And just yesterday, we announced the next step for potential new oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic.

So the fact is, we’re producing more oil right now than we have in eight years, and we’re importing less of it as well.  For two years in a row, America has bought less oil from other countries than we produce here at home -– for the first time in over a decade.

So American oil is booming.  The oil industry is doing just fine.  With record profits and rising production, I’m not worried about the big oil companies.  With high oil prices around the world, they’ve got more than enough incentive to produce even more oil.  That’s why I think it’s time they got by without more help from taxpayers who are already having a tough enough time paying the bills and filling up their gas tank.  And I think it’s curious that some folks in Congress, who are the first to belittle investments in new sources of energy, are the ones that are fighting the hardest to maintain these giveaways for the oil companies.

Instead of taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s never been more profitable, we should be using that money to double-down on investments in clean energy technologies that have never been more promising — investments in wind power and solar power and biofuels; investments in fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and energy-efficient homes and buildings.  That’s the future.  That’s the only way we’re going to break this cycle of high gas prices that happen year after year after year.  As the economy is growing, the only time you start seeing lower gas prices is when the economy is doing badly.  That’s not the kind of pattern that we want to be in.  We want the economy doing well, and people to be able to afford their energy costs.

And keep in mind, we can’t just drill our way out of this problem.  As I said, oil production here in the United States is doing very well, and it’s been doing well even as gas prices are going up.  Well, the reason is because we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil but we only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  And that means we could drill every drop of American oil tomorrow but we’d still have to buy oil from other countries to make up the difference.  We’d still have to depend on other countries to meet our energy needs.  And because it’s a world market, the fact that we’re doing more here in the United States doesn’t necessarily help us because even U.S. oil companies they’re selling that oil on a worldwide market.  They’re not keeping it just for us.  And that means that if there’s rising demand around the world then the prices are going to up.

That’s not the future that I want for America.  I don’t want folks like these back here and the folks in front of me to have to pay more at the pump every time that there’s some unrest in the Middle East and oil speculators get nervous about whether there’s going to be enough supply.  I don’t want our kids to be held hostage to events on the other side of the world.

I want us to control our own destiny.  I want us to forge our own future.  And that’s why, as long as I’m President, America is going to pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy, which means we will continue developing our oil and gas resources in a robust and responsible way.  But it also means that we’re going to keep developing more advanced homegrown biofuels, the kinds that are already powering truck fleets across America.

We’re going to keep investing in clean energy like the wind power and solar power that’s already lighting thousands of homes and creating thousands of jobs.  We’re going to keep manufacturing more cars and trucks to get more miles to the gallon so that you can fill up once every two weeks instead of every week.  We’re going to keep building more homes and businesses that waste less energy so that you’re in charge of your own energy bills.

We’re going to do all of this by harnessing our most inexhaustible resource:  American ingenuity and American imagination.  That’s what we need to keep going.  That’s what’s at stake right now.  That’s the choice that we face.  And that’s the choice that’s facing Congress today.  They can either vote to spend billions of dollars more in oil subsidies that keep us trapped in the past, or they can vote to end these taxpayer subsidies that aren’t needed to boost oil production so that we can invest in the future.  It’s that simple.

And as long as I’m President, I’m betting on the future.  And as the people I’ve talked to around the country, including the people who are behind me here today, they put their faith in the future as well.  That’s what we do as Americans.  That’s who we are.  We innovate.  We discover.  We seek new solutions to some of our biggest challenges.  And, ultimately, because we stick with it, we succeed.  And I believe that we’re going to do that again.  Today, the American people are going to be watching Congress to see if they have that same faith.

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

END
11:08 A.M. EDT

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Full Text Obama Presidency March 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on American Made Energy at Ohio State University

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY
& THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama and the Buckeye Bullet

Source: WH, 3-23-12
President Barack Obama looks at the Buckeye Bullet (March 22, 2012)

President Barack Obama looks at the Buckeye Bullet, a high speed electric land speed race car, during a tour of the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, March 22, 2012. An earlier version of the Buckeye Bullet holds the U.S. electric land speed record at 314.958 mph. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Ohio State University in Columbus was President Obama’s final stop on this week’s energy tour. It’s home to the Center for Automotive Research, a hotbed of innovation in the fields of energy production and advanced vehicles.

There, President Obama had a chance to see the Buckeye Bullet — an electric car that has already traveled at speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour. Engineers at the school told him that they’re now aiming to design the vehicle so that it’s capable of going more than 400 miles per hour.

Today, Buckeye Bullet is already the fastest electric car in the world, and at OSU, they’re aiming to make it even faster. President Obama said that kind of ingenuity is “essential to American leadership.”

He told the Columbus crowd:

[As] long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments. I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments. I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America. By American workers. That’s the future we want.

As for the Buckeye Bullet, the President also promised that his daughter Malia, who will turn16 in a couple of years, will never drive 300 miles per hour, despite the vehicle’s impressive success.


Learn more:

POLITICAL QUOTES
& SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American-Made Energy

The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

4:27 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Buckeyes!  (Applause.)  Yes.  It is good to be back at The Ohio State University.  (Applause.)  I want to thank —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  I am thrilled to be here.  I want to thank a couple of people.  First of all, the outstanding Mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman, is here.  (Applause.)  I want to thank OSU Provost Joe Alutto.  (Applause.)

And I just got this extraordinary tour from Giorgio Rizzoni, who’s the director of the Center for Automotive Research.  So give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

Now, let’s face it, a presidential visit isn’t even close to being the biggest thing this weekend on campus.  (Laughter.)  And despite what Vijay said, I did have the Buckeyes heading to the Final Four.  (Applause.)  I’m just saying.  I think Selinger is going to have a big game tonight.  (Applause.)  And I promise you I didn’t do it because I knew I was coming here — because I am cold-blooded when it comes to filling out my brackets.  (Laughter.)  So I genuinely think you guys are looking good.

And by the way, I just read somewhere that one in every four teams in the Sweet 16 is from Ohio.  (Applause.)  You’ve got Ohio State, Ohio University, Xavier — (applause) — Xavier is in — Cincinnati.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not going to get in the middle of this. (Laughter.)  I do want to just say no state has ever done this before.  So it’s a testimony to Ohio basketball.  (Applause.)

And I want to thank Vijay for the outstanding introduction  — very much appreciate that.

Now, this is our last stop on a trip where we’ve been talking about an all-of-the-above energy strategy for America — a strategy where we produce more oil, produce more gas, but also produce more American biofuels and more fuel-efficient cars, more solar power, more wind power, more power from the oceans, more clean and renewable energy.  (Applause.)  More clean and renewable energy.

You know what I’m talking about here, because this school is a national leader in developing new sources of energy and advanced vehicles that use a lot less energy.

I just had a chance to take a tour of the Center for Automotive Research.  Now, I admit the best part of it was seeing the Buckeye Bullet, which has gone over 300 miles an hour and is now shooting for 400 miles an hour.  (Applause.)  And I asked the guys who were helping to design this whether mom was going to let them actually test-drive this thing, and the answer was no.  (Laughter.)  Only professional drivers are permitted.

But for anybody who’s not familiar with this, the Buckeye Bullet is the fastest electric car in the world.  (Applause.)  The fastest in the world.  I don’t know who’s going to need to go that fast.  (Laughter.)  But it is a testament to the ingenuity here at Ohio State and what is essential to American leadership when it comes to energy — our brain power.

I will say, though, when Malia gets her license in a few years, she will not be allowed to go 300 miles an hour.  (Laughter.)

Now, one of the reasons that I’ve been talking so much about fuel-efficient cars and new sources of energy is obviously because we’re seeing another spike in gas prices right now.  And that’s tough on folks.  I remember when I was a student, filling up was always tough.  And gas prices are putting pressure not just on students but on a lot of families all across Ohio, all across the country.  Whether you’re trying to get to school, go to work, go grocery shopping, dropping off your kids, you’ve got to be able to fill up that gas tank.  Right now, for most people you don’t have a choice.

So when prices spike, that tax hike feels like a — or that gas spike feels like a tax hike coming right out of your pocket. That’s part of the reason that we passed a payroll tax cut at the beginning of this year –- so that the average American would get an extra $40 in every paycheck to help offset the price of gas.  (Applause.)  So that’s going to offer some relief.

But the bigger question is how do we make sure that these spikes in gas prices don’t keep on happening — because we’ve seen this movie before.  This happens just about every year.  This happened this time last year.  Gas prices were even higher in the spring and summer of 2008.  It has been going on for years, for decades.

And every time prices start to go up — especially during an election year — politicians, they start dusting off their 3-point plan for $2.00 gas.  (Laughter.)  Although this year, they decided it was going to be $2.50.  (Laughter.)  This year they decided it was going to be $2.50.  Now, I don’t know where they pick that number, $2.50.  Because it could have been $2.40, I guess.  They could have said $2.10.  They could have said 50 cents a gallon.  But they all make the same promise.  They head down to the gas station and they make sure a few cameras are following them, and then they tell you how we’re going to have cheap gas forever if you just vote for them.  And it has been the same script for 30 years — the same thing.  It has been like a bad rerun.

And when you ask them, what specifically is your — (audience interruption.)

Sir, I’m here to speak to these folks.  You can hold your own rally.  (Applause.)  You’re being rude.  Sir, we’re trying to talk to these people.  (Applause.)  I’ll be happy to read your book — if you want to give me your book, I’ll be happy to read it.  But don’t interrupt my conversation with these folks, all right?  (Applause.)  Show me some courtesy.  (Applause.)  Show me some courtesy.  I’ll be happy to take your book.  But don’t interrupt everybody else.  All right?  Okay.

Now, where was I?  (Laughter.)  Go ahead and get that book from him, guys.  He wants to give me a book.  Please feel free to grab it.  You’re touting this book — make sure that you’ve given it to us.

All right, now that we’ve gotten that settled.  (Laughter.) Now, the question is, why is it that every year we hear the same story about how we’re going to have $2 gas, or $1.50 gas, or whatever price they come up with, if we would just drill for more oil?  That’s the solution that you always here.  Prices will immediately come down and all our problems will go away — like magic.

There are two problems with that.  First of all, we have been drilling.  We’re drilling right now.  Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years — at any time.  (Applause.)  That’s a fact.  Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of acres of land in 23 different states for oil and gas exploration. That’s a fact.  (Applause.)  Offshore, I’ve directed my administration to open up more than 75 percent of potential oil resources.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.

I just visited New Mexico.  Their big problem is they don’t have enough truck drivers to transport all the oil that they are producing.  We’ve added enough oil and gas pipeline to circle the entire Earth and then some.  I just visited one of those new pipelines in Oklahoma, and today I directed my administration to make sure that we cut the red tape in terms of reducing some of these bottlenecks.

So the problem is not that we’re not drilling, or that we’re not producing more oil.  We are producing more oil than any time in the last eight years.  That’s not the problem.  There are probably a few spots where we’re not drilling, it’s true.  I’m not drilling in the South Lawn.  (Laughter.)  We’re not drilling next to the Washington Monument.  We’re not drilling in Ohio Stadium.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  So there are some spots out there that we are not drilling.  But we’re doing so in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people, and protects America’s incredible bounty that God gave us — our resources.  (Applause.)

So that’s point number one.  But the second issue, which, because we got a lot of young people, you guys understand, is that a strategy that relies only on drilling defies the fact that America uses 20 percent of the world’s oil, but we only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  So we use 20 percent; we have 2 percent.  Who’s a math major here?  (Laughter.)  All right.  If I’m not mistaken, that leaves us about 18 percent short.  (Laughter.)

We can’t simply drill our way out of the problem.  Even if we drilled every square inch of this country right now, we’re going to be relying on other countries for oil.  (Applause.)  Does anybody here think that’s a good strategy?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Of course, it isn’t.  We shouldn’t have to pay more at the pump every time there’s instability in the Middle East, which is the main reason gas prices are going up right now. (Applause.)  We should not be held hostage to events on the other side of the world.  This is America.  We control our own destiny. We forge our own future.  And I will not accept an energy strategy that traps us in the past.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to do it.

So as long as I’m President, America is going to be pursuing an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  Yes, we’ll develop as much oil and gas as we can, in a safe way, but we’re also going to develop wind power, and solar power, and advanced biofuels.  (Applause.)  We can build the next-generation nuclear reactors that are smaller and safer and cleaner and cheaper, but we’ve got to also look at renewable energy as the key to our future.  And we’ve got to build cars and trucks that get more miles to the gallon.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to build homes and businesses that waste less energy, and put consumers in control of their energy bills.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  And we’ll do it by harnessing the same type of American ingenuity and imagination that’s on display right here at Ohio State.  (Applause.)  Right here at Ohio State.

So already we’ve made progress.  After decades of inaction, we raised fuel-economy standards, so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what we get today.  (Applause.)  That means you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week.  (Applause.)  You like that?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  That will save the average family about $8,000 at the pump over the life of a car, which is real money.  To use even less oil, we’re going to have to keep investing in clean, renewable, homegrown biofuels.  And already we’re using these biofuels to power everything from city buses to UPS trucks, even to Navy ships.  And the more we rely on these homegrown fuels, the less oil we buy from other countries and the more jobs we create right here in America.  (Applause.)

We also need to keep investing in clean energy like wind power and solar power.  I just visited the biggest American solar plant of its kind, in Boulder City, Nevada.  It’s powering thousands of homes.  It put hundreds of local people at work.  There are thousands of companies like that all across America.  And today, thousands of Americans have jobs because of public investments that have nearly doubled the use of clean energy in this country.

And as long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments.  I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments.  I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America.  (Applause.)  By American workers.  That’s the future we want.

So all these steps, all these steps have put us on a path of greater energy independence.   Here’s a statistic I want everybody to remember.  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  (Applause.)  In 2010, our oil dependence was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years.  (Applause.)  Even as the economy was growing, we’ve made progress in reducing the amount of oil that we have to import because we’re being smarter; we’re doing things better.

But now we’ve got a choice.  We can keep moving in that direction — we can keep developing new energy and new technology that uses less oil — or we can listen to these folks who actually believe that the only thing we can do is drill our way out of this problem.  In fact, they make fun of clean energy.  They call the jobs produced by them “phony” jobs.  They make jokes about them at their rallies.

Lately, we’ve heard a lot of politicians, a lot of folks who are running for a certain office –- (laughter) — they shall go unnamed — (laughter) — they dismiss wind power.  They dismiss solar power.  They make jokes about biofuels.  I guess they like gas-guzzlers because they’re against raising fuel standards.  Imagine if these guys had been around when Columbus set sail.  They’d be charter members of the Flat Earth Society.  (Laughter and applause.)  They don’t ask what we can do; they explain what we can’t do, and why we can’t do it.

And the point is there will always be cynics and naysayers who just want to keep on doing the same things the same way that we’ve always done them.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Then we wouldn’t have a black President, but we do!

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that’s true.  (Applause.)

They want to double down on the same ideas that got us exactly into this mess that we’ve been in and we’ve been digging our way out of.  That’s not who we are as Americans.

We’ve always succeeded because we refused to stand still.  We put faith in the future.  We are inventors.  We are builders.  We’re makers of things.  We’re Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and Steve Jobs.  By the way, the Wright Brothers were from Ohio.  (Applause.)  Just want to point that out.  But that’s who we are.  That’s who we need to be right now.  We can’t be afraid of the future.  (Applause.)

The flat Earth crowd, they’ve got a different view.  They would rather give $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil companies this year than to invest in clean energy.  Four billion dollars to an industry that’s making record profits because of what you’re paying at the gas station.  Does anybody think that they need help, that they don’t have enough incentive to drill for oil?  Does anybody think that’s a wise use of your tax dollars?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  We have been subsidizing oil companies for a century.  That’s long enough.  (Applause.)  It is time to stop a taxpayer giveaway to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and start making investments in a clean energy industry that has never been more promising.

And when Congress votes on this, you guys should put some pressure on to tell them, do the right thing.  Bet on our future, not on our past.  (Applause.)  Put them on record:  They can either stand with the oil industry, or they can stand with the American people.  They can place their bets on the energy of the past, or place their bets on America’s future — on American workers, American technology, American ingenuity, American-made energy.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Our children.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Our children.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice we face.  That’s what’s at stake right now.

And, Ohio, we know the direction that we’ve got to go in.  Ending these oil subsidies won’t bring gas prices down tomorrow. Even if we drilled every inch of America, that won’t bring gas prices down tomorrow.  But if we’re tired of watching gas prices spike every single year, if we’re tired of being caught in this position, knowing that China and India are growing — China had 10 million cars purchased in 2010 alone.  You’ve got a billion people, two billion people out there, who are interested in buying cars — which means that unless we develop alternatives, oil prices are going to keep on going up.

I don’t want folks in the Middle East taking your money out of your pocket because we did not develop the kind of strategies that will sustain our future and our independence.  (Applause.)

So I need all of you guys to make your voices heard.  Get on the phone.  Write and email.  Send a tweet.  Let your members of Congress know where you stand.  Tell them to do the right thing. Tell them that we can win this fight.  Tell them:  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)  We can build an economy that lasts.  We can make this another American Century.  We can remind the entire world just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
4:46 P.M. EDT

White House Recap March 16-22, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama Embarked on Four State Energy Tour — Celebrated St Patrick’s Day

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: MARCH 16-22, 2012

West Wing Week: 3/22/12 or “Slainte!”

West Wing Week

Source: WH, 3-22-12

This week, the President celebrated his fourth St Patrick’s Day in the White House and hosted the Irish Prime Minister, marked Nowruz with a video address, then embarked on a four state energy tour.

Full Text Obama Presidency March 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on an All-of-the-Above Energy Policy & Solar Power in Nevada

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Obama Takes On Republicans Over Energy Policy

Source: NYT, 3-21-12

The president will try to counter Republican resistance to alternative energy subsidies at the expense of oil and gas….READ MORE

President Obama Discusses Solar Power in Nevada

Source: WH, 3-21-12
President Obama Delivers Remarks on Energy at the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on energy after a tour of a Solar Panel Field at the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility, the largest photovoltaic plant operating in the country with nearly one million solar panels powering 17,000 homes, in Boulder City, Nevada, March 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Today, President Obama visited the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility in Boulder City, Nevada. The facility is the largest photovoltaic plant in the country, and its one million solar panels power 17,000 homes in California.

Boulder City, a small town near Las Vegas with fewer than 20,000 residents, was initially established to house the workers building the Hoover Dam. Today, the sun shines on Boulder City 320 days each year, making it an ideal place for a massive solar facility. Construction began in 2010, and hundreds of local residents now have jobs because of the plant. Things are going so well, in fact, that a second and third Copper Mountain facility are in the works, which will eventually generate enough electricity to power 45,000 and 66,000 homes, respectively.

Across the country, businesses like the one that built Copper Mountain are developing enough solar energy to power 730,000 homes.

Increasing the use of renewable energy sources like solar power is one piece of President Obama’s strategy to develop every available source of American-made energy. Since he took office, federal investment in renewable energy has helped nearly double its use across the country. And as a result, we are reducing our dependence on foreign oil and becoming more energy independent, creating jobs, and keeping our environment clean.

Read more about the other parts of the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Energy

Copper Mountain Solar Project
Boulder City, Nevada

1:10 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  (Applause.)  Good afternoon.  Everybody, please have a seat.  Have a seat.  It is wonderful to be here.  Thank you so much.  It is great to be in Boulder City.

A couple people I want to thank for their outstanding work. First of all, our Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, is in the house.  (Applause.)  He’s the guy in the nice-looking hat.  Not only does it look good, but it protects his head, because the hair has gotten a little thin up there.  (Laughter.)  He is a good-looking guy.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  One of them.  One of them.

THE PRESIDENT:  One of them.  (Laughter.)  That’s right.  There’s the other guy.  (Laughter.)

I also want to thank your Mayor — a big supporter of solar energy — and that’s Roger Tobler, for being here.  Where’s Roger?  Here he is right there.  I just met his beautiful daughter.  It’s great to see you.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Jeffrey Martin, CEO of Sempra, and John and Kevin, who helped just give me this tour.

And Boulder City is the first stop on a tour where I’ll be talking about what we’re calling an all-of-the-above energy strategy — all of the above.  A strategy that relies on producing more oil and gas here in America, but also more biofuels, more fuel-efficient cars, more wind power and, as you can see, a whole lot more solar power.

This is the largest solar plant of its kind anywhere in the country.  That’s worth applauding.  (Applause.)  Every year, you produce enough clean energy to power around 17,000 homes.  And that’s just the beginning.  Things are going so well that another plant is already under construction down the road that will eventually power another 45,000 homes.  And a third plant is in development that will be, one day, able to power around 66,000 homes.

Now, this is an area that was hit hard by the recession — and that’s true of the whole state.  You guys have been through a lot.  But you haven’t given up.  You looked around at this flat, beautiful land and all this sun — I just — I asked the question, how many days of sun do you get a year — 320 — that’s pretty good — and decided that Boulder City was the perfect place to generate solar power.

In fact, as I was talking to the folks from Sempra, they were explaining that this location is almost optimal for solar power generation, not only because it’s flat, transmission lines were already here, the sun is traveling and there’s no haze and it’s absolutely clear.  And so this is an extraordinary opportunity for the community.  And when a business showed up with plans to build a new solar plant, hundreds of local workers got jobs because of it.  Thousands of families are now powering their homes with a cleaner, renewable source of energy.

And this is not just happening here in Boulder City — it’s happening in cities and towns all across America.  According to experts, we’ve now got more than 5,600 solar companies nationwide, and many of them are small businesses.  There are solar companies in every single state in the Union.  And today, we’re producing enough solar energy to power 730,000 American homes.  And because of the investments we’ve made as a nation, the use of renewable energies has actually doubled.

So this is an industry on the rise.  It’s a source of energy that’s becoming cheaper; we all know it’s cleaner.  And more and more businesses are starting to take notice.  They’re starting to look around for more places like Boulder City to set up shop.

When I took office I said, why not give these businesses some access to public lands that aren’t otherwise being utilized? At the time, there wasn’t a single solar project in place on public lands — not one.  Today, thanks to some great work by Ken Salazar, we’ve got 16 solar projects approved.  (Applause.)  And when they’re complete, we’ll be generating enough energy to power 2 million homes.  And that’s progress.

We’re also enforcing our trade laws to make sure countries like China aren’t giving their solar companies an unfair advantage over ours.  (Applause.)  And that’s important because countries all around the world — China, Germany, you name it — they understand the potential.  They understand the fact that as countries all around the world become more interested in power generation — their population is expanding, their income level is going up, they use more electricity — and we’re going to have to make sure that we’re the guys who are selling them the technology and the know-how to make sure that they’re getting the power that they need.

In fact, just yesterday, our administration determined China wasn’t playing fair when it came to solar power.  And so we took the first step towards leveling the playing field, because my attitude is, when the playing field is level, then American workers and American businesses are always going to win.  And that’s why we’ve got to make sure that our laws are properly enforced.  (Applause.)

Now, you’d think given this extraordinary site, given the fact that this is creating jobs, generating power, helping to keep our environment clean, making us more competitive globally, you’d think that everybody would be supportive of solar power.   That’s what you’d think.  And yet, if some politicians had their way, there won’t be any more public investment in solar energy.  There won’t be as many new jobs and new businesses.

Some of these folks want to dismiss the promise of solar power and wind power and fuel-efficient cars.  In fact, they make jokes about it.  One member of Congress who shall remain unnamed called these jobs “phony” — called them phony jobs.  I mean, think about that mindset, that attitude that says because something is new, it must not be real.  If these guys were around when Columbus set sail, they’d be charter members of the Flat Earth Society.  (Laughter.)  We were just talking about this — that a lack of imagination, a belief that you can’t do something in a new way — that’s not how we operate here in America.  That’s not who we are.  That’s not what we’re about.

These politicians need to come to Boulder City and see what I’m seeing.  (Applause.)  They should talk to the people who are involved in this industry, who have benefitted from the jobs, who benefit from ancillary businesses that are related to what’s going on right here.

Now, all of you know that when it comes to new technologies, the payoffs aren’t always going to come right away.  Sometimes, you need a jumpstart to make it happen.  That’s been true of every innovation that we’ve ever had.  And we know that some discoveries won’t pan out.  There’s the VCR and the Beta and the — all that stuff.  (Laughter.)

And each successive generation recognizes that some technologies are going to work, some won’t; some companies will fail, some companies will succeed.  Not every auto company succeeded in the early days of the auto industry.  Not every airplane manufacturer succeeded in the early days of the aviation.  But we understood as Americans that if we keep on this track, and we’re at the cutting edge, then that ultimately will make our economy stronger and it will make the United States stronger.  It will create jobs.  It will create businesses.  It will create opportunities for middle-class Americans and folks who want to get into the middle class.  That’s who we are.  That’s what we’re about.  (Applause.)

So I want everybody here to know that as long as I’m President, we will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to walk away from places like Boulder City.  I’m not going to give up on the new to cede our position to China or Germany or all the other competitors out there who are making massive investments in clean energy technology.  I refuse to see us stand by and not make the same commitment.  That’s not what we do in America.  It’s not who we are as a country.

One of the main reasons I ran for this office is I didn’t think that our leaders were doing enough to tackle the big challenges, the hard challenges, to seize the big opportunities.  And energy is one of the best examples.  We have been talking about changing our energy policies for 30 years now.  When I was the age of these guys right here, when I was 10, 11, right, in the ‘70s, and my grandparents were complaining about long gas lines, we were talking about how we were going to do things differently.  Thirty, 40 years, and we keep on doing the same stuff.  We keep on punting.  We keep on putting it off.  For decades, Washington kept kicking the can down the road.

I don’t want to do that anymore.  I want to make sure when these guys are grown up that they’re seeing solar panels all across the country.  They’re seeing American-made energy and American-made power.  They’re benefiting from a cleaner environment.  They’re seeing jobs and opportunity — that’s what I want to see.

So as long as I’m President, we’re going to develop every available source of energy.  That is a promise that I’m making to you.  (Applause.)

And, yes, that means we make investments in stuff that is new, and we stop subsidizing stuff that’s old.  The current members of the Flat Earth Society in Congress — (laughter) — they would rather see us continue to provide $4 billion — $4 billion — in tax subsidies, tax giveaways, to the oil companies — $4 billion to an industry that is making record profits.  Every time you fill up the pump, they’re making money.  They are doing just fine.  They’re not having any problems.

And yet, on top of what we’re paying at the pump, we’re also going to give them $4 billion in subsidies that could be going into making sure there were investments in clean energy for the future?  That doesn’t make any sense.  Does that make any sense?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  All right, I just wanted to make sure.  Because I didn’t think it was a wise use of your tax dollars.  (Laughter.)

We have subsidized oil companies for a century.  We want to encourage production of oil and gas, and make sure that wherever we’ve got American resources, we are tapping into them.  But they don’t need an additional incentive when gas is $3.75 a gallon, when oil is $1.20 a barrel, $1.25 a barrel.  They don’t need additional incentives.  They are doing fine.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  It is our retirement!

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  A century of subsidies to oil companies is long enough.  It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double down on investments in an energy industry that has never been more promising.  (Applause.)  That’s what we need to do.

So Congress needs to pass more tax credits for projects like this one; needs to provide certainty when it comes to these tax credits.  We need to go out there and do what a lot of states are doing right now, which is saying, let’s get a certain percentage of our energy from clean energy sources.  Because when we do that, that gives a company like this one certainty that they’re going to have customers, and they can invest more and build more. (Applause.)

We need to keep Americans on the job.  We need to keep these homes powered by clean energy.  We need to support the businesses that are doing it.

And again, I just want everybody to be clear — because sometimes, when you listen to the news and you listen to some of these other politicians, they seem a little bit confused about what I’m saying.  We are going to continue producing oil and gas at a record pace.  That’s got to be part of what we do.  We need energy to grow.  That’s why we’re producing more oil right now, here in America, than at any time in the last eight years — any time in the last eight years.  We’re opening up more land for oil exploration.  We’ve got more oil rigs operating.  There are more pipelines out there that are being approved.  I’ll be visiting one of those rigs and one of those pipelines this week.

But an energy strategy that focuses only on drilling and not on an energy strategy that will free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil, that’s a losing strategy.  That’s not a strategy I’m going to pursue.  America uses 20 percent of the world’s oil, and we’ve got 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Think about — I wasn’t a math major, but I just want — (laughter) — if you’re using 20, you’ve only got 2, that means you got to bring in the rest from someplace else.  Why wouldn’t we want to start finding alternatives that make us less reliant, less dependent on what’s going on in the Middle East?  (Applause.)

So we’ve got to develop new energy technologies, new energy sources.  It’s the only way forward.  And here in Boulder City, you know that better than anybody.  You know the promise that lies ahead because this city has always been about the future.  Eight decades ago, in the midst of the Great Depression, the people of Boulder City were busy working on another energy project you may have heard of.  Like today, it was a little bit ahead of its time; it was a little bit bigger than this solar plant — it was a little louder, too.  It was called the Hoover Dam.  And at the time, it was the largest dam in the world.  (Applause.)  Even today, it stands as a testimony to American ingenuity, American imagination, the power of the American spirit — a testimony to the notion we can do anything.

That was true back then; it is true today.  You know the choice we need to make when it comes to energy.  We’ve got to invest in a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of energy.  We’ve got to stay ahead of the curve.  We’ve got to make sure that we’re taking some risks.  We’ve got to make sure that we’re making the investments that are necessary.  We’ve got to support extraordinary entrepreneurs that are on the cutting-edge.  That’s who we are.  That’s what we do. And if we keep on doing it, nothing is going to stop us.

Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
1:27 P.M. PDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 17, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address on an All-of-the-above Energy Policy & Ending Subsidies for Big Oil Companies

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama says that America needs an all-of-the-above energy strategy that invests in new technologies and ends the $4 billion in annual subsidies to oil companies that are earning historic profits.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

Weekly Address: Ending Subsidies for Big Oil Companies

Source: WH, 3-17-12

President Obama says that America needs an all-of-the-above energy strategy that invests in new technologies and ends the $4 billion in annual subsidies to oil companies that are earning historic profits.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Ending Subsidies for Big Oil Companies

In this week’s address, President Obama called on all Americans to place their bets on America’s future as we reduce our dependence on foreign oil by expanding domestic oil and gas production, increasing the efficiency of the vehicles we drive, and investing in advanced technologies and alternative fuels. While there is no quick fix for the problem of high gas prices, the President has taken steps to save families money at the pump, including signing Wall Street reforms to stop traders from unfairly manipulating the energy market, and establishing historic fuel economy standards that will nearly double the efficiency of the vehicles we drive, saving families $1.7 trillion at the pump and reducing oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.  We are also producing more oil at home than at any time in the last eight years, but with only 2% of the world’s proven oil reserves, drilling alone is not a solution.  We must have an all-of-the-above energy strategy that invests in new technologies and ends the $4 billion in annual subsidies to oil companies that are earning historic profits.  If you believe Congress should end these oil company subsidies once and for all, tell your elected officials that it’s time to put middle class families first, not the big oil companies.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hi, everybody.  As I’m sure you’ve noticed over the past few weeks, the price at your local pump has been going up and up.  And because it’s an election year, so has the temperature of our political rhetoric.

What matters most to me right now is the impact that rising prices have on you.  When you’ve got to spend more on gas, you’ve got less to spend on everything else.  It makes things harder.  So I wanted to take a minute this weekend to explain what steps my Administration is taking when it comes to energy – most importantly, producing more of it while using less of it.

The truth is: the price of gas depends on a lot of factors that are often beyond our control.  Unrest in the Middle East can tighten global oil supply.  Growing nations like China or India adding cars to the road increases demand.  But one thing we should control is fraud and manipulation that can cause prices to spike even further.

For years, traders at financial firms were able to game the energy markets, distort the price of oil, and make big profits for themselves at your expense.  And they were able to do all that because of major gaps and loopholes in our regulations.  When I took office, we did something about it.

The Wall Street reforms I signed into law are helping bring energy markets out of the shadows and under real oversight.  They’re strengthening our ability to go after fraud and to prevent traders from manipulating the market.  So it’s not just wrong, but dangerous that some in Congress want to roll back those protections and return to the days when companies like Enron could avoid regulation and reap enormous profits, no matter who it hurt.

What’s more, at a time when big oil companies are making more money than ever before, we’re still giving them $4 billion of your tax dollars in subsidies every year.  Your member of Congress should be fighting for you.  Not for big financial firms.  Not for big oil companies.

In the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies.  And when they do, we’re going to put every single Member of Congress on record: They can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people.  They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century, or they can place their bets on America’s future.   So make your voice heard.  Send your representative an email.  Give them a call.  Tell them to stand with you.

And tell them to be honest with you.  It’s easy to promise a quick fix when it comes to gas prices.  There just isn’t one.  Anyone who tells you otherwise – any career politician who promises some three-point plan for two-dollar gas – they’re not looking for a solution.  They’re just looking for your vote.

If we’re truly going to make sure we’re not at the mercy of spikes in gas prices every year, the answer isn’t just to drill more – because we’re already drilling more.  Under my Administration, we’re producing more oil here at home than at any time in the last eight years, that’s a fact. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high, that’s a fact.  And we’ve opened millions of acres on land and offshore to develop more of our domestic resources.

Those are the facts.  But we can’t just rely on drilling.  Not when we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but still only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  If we don’t develop other sources of energy, and the technology to use less energy, we’ll continue to be dependent on foreign countries for our energy needs.  That’s why we’re pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy.  As we develop more oil and gas, we’re also developing wind and solar power; biofuels, and next-generation vehicles – and thousands of Americans have jobs right now because of it.  We need to keep making those investments – because I don’t want to see those jobs go to other countries.  I want to create even more of them right here in America.

And after three decades of inaction, we raised fuel economy standards so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon.  That’s nearly double what they get today.  That means you’ll only have to fill up every two weeks instead of every week.  And that will save the typical family more than $8,000 over the life of the car – just by using less gas.

Combined, these steps have helped put us on a path to greater energy independence.  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  In 2010, for the first time in 13 years, less than half the oil we used came from foreign countries.

We can do even better.  And we will.  But what we can’t do is keep being dependent on other countries for our energy needs.  In America we control our own destiny.   So that’s the choice we face – the past, or the future.  And America is what it is today because we have always placed our bets on the future.  Thanks, and have a great weekend.

White House Recap March 10-16, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Barack Obama Hosts British Prime Minister David Cameron for Basketball, State Dinner & Press Conference

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: MARCH 10-16, 2012

West Wing Week: 3/16/12 or “Leveling the Playing Field”

Source: WH, 3-16-12

This week, the President pressed for support of advanced manufacturing, held a series of “Live from the White House” Interviews, made a major announcement on trade rights, hosted Prime Minster Cameron for an Official State Visit and a trip to an NCAA game, and spoke on energy and job creation in Maryland.

Weekly Wrap Up: Standing Together and Working Together

Source: WH, 3-16-12

No Quick Fix: Speaking from Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland on Thursday, the President explained his all-of-the-above strategy to develop every available source of American-made energy. “We need an energy strategy for the future,” the President explained. “Yes, develop as much oil and gas as we can, but also develop wind power and solar power and biofuels.”

Rock-Solid Alliance: On Wednesday morning, President Obama – together with the First Lady, the Vice President and Dr. Biden – welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron and Samantha Cameron to the White House during the Official Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn. Later that evening, the Prime Minister and his wife were honored with a State Dinner, where they were joined by dignitaries from both countries. “In war and I peace, in times of plenty and times of hardship,” President Obama remarked, “we stand tall and proud and strong, together.”

Announcing a New Trade Case: After forming the Trade Enforcement Unit two weeks ago, President Obama announced on Wednesday that, “we’re bringing a new trade case against China – and we’re being joined by Japan and some of our European allies.” The effort is focused on expanding American manufacturers’ access to rare earth materials, which China currently supplies and, due to their policies, prevents the United States from obtaining.

Bracketology: Before the madness began, the President took time to fill out his brackets for the 2012 NCAA men and women’s basketball tournaments. While Kentucky, Ohio State and Mizzou made his Final Four, it’s the North Carolina Tar Heels who he selected as his national champion. On Monday night, the President headed to Dayton, Ohio with Prime Minister Cameron to catch some early round action in person.

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