Political Musings August 5, 2013: Canadian PM Stephen Harper defends XL Keystone pipeline as job creator countering President Obama’s statement

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Harper defends XL Keystone pipeline as job creator countering Obama’s statement

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke to the press from Quebec City on August 2, 2013 about the safety and job creation the oil pipelines projects would create. Harper discussed his support for the Energy East project, an West-East… READ MORE
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Political Headlines March 15, 2013: President Barack Obama Warns of Sequester Impact on Energy Research in Speech Calling for Additional Energy Spending

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Warns of Sequester Impact on Energy Research

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-15-13

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

While calling for $2 billion in additional energy research spending Friday, President Obama warned of how the sequester cuts could cause the United States to fall behind in research and development in the energy sector during an event at a laboratory just outside of Chicago….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 15, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on American Energy & Increasing Research Spending at Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois

POLITICAL BUZZ


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on American Energy — Lemont, Illinois

Source: WH, 3-15-13 

Argonne National Laboratory
Lemont, Illinois

1:31 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Hello, Illinois!  Hello!  It is good to be home!  (Applause.)

Well, let me begin by thanking Ann for the great introduction, the great work she’s doing, the leadership she’s showing with her team on so many different, amazing technological breakthroughs.  I want to thank Dr. Isaacs and Dr. Crabtree for giving me a great tour of your facilities.

It’s not every day that I get to walk into a thermal test chamber.  (Laughter.)  I told my girls that I was going to go into a thermal test chamber and they were pretty excited.  I told them I’d come out looking like the Hulk.  (Laughter.)  They didn’t believe that.

I want to thank my friend and your friend — a truly great U.S. Senator, Senator Dick Durbin — huge supporter of Argonne.  (Applause.)  An outstanding member of Congress who actually could explain some of the stuff that’s going on here — Bill Foster is here.  (Applause.)  Congressman Bobby Rush, a big supporter of Argonne — glad he’s here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got a number of state and local officials with us, including your Mayor, Brian Reaves.  (Applause.)

And I could not come to Argonne without bringing my own Nobel Prize-winning scientist, someone who has served our country so well over the past four years — our Energy Secretary, Dr. Steven Chu.  (Applause.)

Now, I’m here today to talk about what should be our top priority as a nation, and that’s reigniting the true engine of America’s economic growth — a rising, thriving middle class and an economy built on innovation.  In my State of the Union address, I said our most important task was to drive that economic growth, and I meant it.  And every day, we should be asking ourselves three questions:  How do we make America a magnet for good jobs?  How do we equip our people with the skills and training to do those jobs?  And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?

Those of you who have chairs — I wasn’t sure everybody had chairs there.  (Laughter.)  Please feel free to sit down — I’m sorry.  Everybody was standing and I thought Argonne — one of the effects of the sequester, you had to — (laughter) — get rid of chairs.  (Applause.)  That’s good, I’m glad we’ve got some chairs.

So I chose Argonne National Lab because right now, few areas hold more promise for creating good jobs and growing our economy than how we use American energy.

After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future.  We produce more oil than we have in 15 years.  We import less oil than we have in 20 years.  We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy that we generate from sources like wind and solar — with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it.  We’re producing more natural gas than we ever have before — with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it.  We supported the first new nuclear power plant in America since the 1970s.  And we’re sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years.

So we’re making real progress across the board.  And it’s possible, in part, because of labs like this and outstanding scientists like so many of you, entrepreneurs, innovators — all of you who are working together to take your discoveries and turn them into a business.

So think about this:  Just a few years ago, the American auto industry was flat-lining.  Today, thanks in part to discoveries made right here at Argonne, some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, pretty spiffy cars in the world are once again designed, engineered and built here in the United States.

And that’s why we have to keep investing in scientific research.  It’s why we have to maintain our edge — because the work you’re doing today will end up in the products that we make and sell tomorrow.  You’re helping to secure our energy future.  And if we do it well, then that’s going to help us avoid some of the perils of climate change and leave a healthier planet for our kids.  But to do it, we’ve got to make sure that we’re making the right choices in Washington.

Just the other day, Dr. Isaacs and directors of two of our other national laboratories wrote about the effects of the so-called sequester — these across-the-board budget cuts put in place two weeks ago — and specifically the effects it will have on America’s scientific research.  And one of the reasons I was opposed to these cuts is because they don’t distinguish between wasteful programs and vital investments.  They don’t trim the fat; they cut into muscle and into bone — like research and development being done right here that not only gives a great place for young researchers to come and ply their trade, but also ends up creating all kinds of spinoffs that create good jobs and good wages.

So Dr. Isaacs said these cuts will force him to stop any new project that’s coming down the line.  And I’m quoting him now — he says, “This sudden halt on new starts will freeze American science in place while the rest of the world races forward, and it will knock a generation of young scientists off their stride, ultimately costing billions of dollars in missed future opportunities.”  I mean, essentially because of this sequester, we’re looking at two years where we don’t start new research.  And at a time when every month you’ve got to replace your smartphone because something new has come up, imagine what that means when China and Germany and Japan are all continuing to plump up their basic research, and we’re just sitting there doing nothing.

We can’t afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races forward.  We have to seize these opportunities.  I want the next great job-creating breakthroughs — whether it’s in energy or nanotechnology or bioengineering — I want those breakthroughs to be right here in the United States of America, creating American jobs and maintaining our technological lead.  (Applause.)

So I just want to be clear — these cuts will harm, not help, our economy.  They aren’t the smart way to cut our deficits.  And that’s why I’m reaching out to Republicans and Democrats to come together around a balanced approach, a smart, phased-in approach to deficit reduction that includes smart spending cuts and entitlement reforms and new revenue, and that won’t hurt our middle class or slow economic growth.  And if we do that, then we can move beyond governing from crisis to crisis to crisis, and we keep our focus on policies that actually create jobs and grow our economy, and move forward to face all of the other challenges we face, from fixing our broken immigration system to educating our kids to keeping them safe from gun violence.

And few pieces of business are more important for us than getting our energy future right.  So here at Argonne, and other labs around the country, scientists are working on getting us where we need to get 10 years from now, 20 years from now.  Today, what most Americans feel first when it comes to energy prices — or energy issues are prices that they pay at the pump. And over the past few weeks, we saw — we went through another spike in gas prices.  And people are nodding here.  They weren’t happy about it.  The problem is this happens every year.  It happened last year, the year before that.  And it’s a serious blow to family budgets.  It feels like you’re getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket.  And every time it happens, politicians — they dust off their three-point plans for $2 gas, but nothing happens and then we go through the same cycle again.

But here’s the thing:  Over the past four years, we haven’t just talked about it, we’ve actually started doing something about it.  We’ve worked with the auto companies to put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in our history.  And what that means is, by the middle of the next decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  And the standards that we set are part of what’s driving some of the amazing scientists and engineers who are working here at Argonne Labs.  We’ve set some achievable but ambitious goals.  So in the middle of the next decade, we expect that you’ll fill up half as often, which means you spend half as much.  And over the life of a new car, the average family will save more than $8,000 at the pump.  That’s worth applauding.  That’s big news.  (Applause.)

In fact, a new report issued today shows that America is becoming a global leader in advanced vehicles.  You walk into any dealership today, and you’ll see twice as many hybrids to choose from as there were five years ago.  You’ll see seven times as many cars that can go 40 miles a gallon or more.  And as costs go down, sales are going up.

Last year, General Motors sold more hybrid vehicles than ever before.  Ford is selling some of the most fuel-efficient cars so quickly that dealers are having a tough time keeping up with the demand.  So by investing in our energy security, we’re helping our businesses succeed and we’re creating good middle-class jobs right here in America.

So we’re making progress, but the only way to really break this cycle of spiking gas prices, the only way to break that cycle for good is to shift our cars entirely — our cars and trucks — off oil.  That’s why, in my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal.
Now, I’d like to take credit for this idea because it’s a good idea, but I can’t.  Basically, my proposal builds off a proposal that was put forward by a non-partisan coalition that includes retired generals and admirals and leading CEOs.  And these leaders came together around a simple idea — much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together.  So what they’ve proposed is let’s take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public so we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit.

We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; support scientists that are developing cheaper batteries that can go farther on a single charge; support scientists and engineers that are devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy — like advanced biofuels and natural gas — so drivers can one day go coast to coast without using a drop of oil.

And the reason so many different people from the private sector, the public sector, our military support this idea is because it’s not just about saving money; it’s also about saving the environment, but it’s also about our national security.  For military officials — like General Paul Kelley, a former Commandant of the Marine Corps — this is about national security.  Our reliance on oil makes us way too dependent on other parts of the world, many of which are very volatile.  For business leaders — like Fred Smith, the CEO of FedEx — this is about economic security, because when fuel prices shoot up, it’s harder to plan investments, expand operations, create new jobs.

So these leaders all say we need to fix this.  This is not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea.  This is just a smart idea. And we should be taking their advice.  Let’s set up an Energy Security Trust that helps us free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas once and for all.  (Applause.)  Let’s do that.  We can do it.  We’ve done it before.  We innovated here at Argonne.

And in the meantime, we’ll keep moving on the all-of-the-above energy strategy that we’ve been working on for the last couple years, where we’re producing more oil and gas here at home but we’re also producing more biofuels, we’re also producing more fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power; more wind power.  We’re working to make sure that here in America we’re building cars and homes and businesses that waste less energy.

We can do this.  The nature of America’s miraculous rise has been our drive, our restless spirit, our willingness to reach out to new horizons, our willingness to take risks, our willingness to innovate.  We are not satisfied just because things — this is how things have been.  We’re going to try something that maybe we just imagine now, but if we work at it, we’ll achieve it.  That’s the nature of America.  That’s what Argonne National Lab is about.  That’s what this facility is about.  (Applause.)

Two decades ago, scientists at Argonne, led by Mike Thackeray, who’s here today — where is Mike?  There he is right here.  (Applause.)  Mike started work on a rechargeable lithium battery for cars.  And some folks at the time said the idea wasn’t worth the effort.  They said that even if you had the technology, the car would cost too much, it wouldn’t go far enough.

But Mike and his team knew better.  They knew you could do better.  And America, our government, our federal government made it a priority, and we funded those efforts.  And Mike went to work.  And when others gave up, the team kept on at it.  And when development hit a snag, the team found solutions.  And a few years ago, all of this hard work paid off, and scientists here at Argonne helped create a lithium ion battery that costs less, lasts longer than any that had come before.

So what was just an idea two decades ago is now rolling off assembly lines in cutting-edge fuel efficient cars that you can plug in at night.  Well, imagine all the ideas right now with all of these young scientists and engineers that 20 years ago — or 20 years from now will be offering solutions to our problems that we can’t even comprehend — as long as we’re still funding these young scientists and engineers; as long as the pipeline for research is maintained; as long as we recognize there are some things we do together as a country because individually we can’t do it — and, by the way, the private sector on its own will not invest in this research because it’s too expensive.  It’s too risky.  They can’t afford it in terms of their bottom lines.

So we’ve got to support it.  And we’ll all benefit from it, and our kids will benefit from it, and our grandkids will benefit from it.  That’s who we are.  That’s been the American story.

We don’t stand still, we look forward.  We invent.  We build.  We turn new ideas into new industries.  We change the way we can live our lives here at home and around the world.  That’s how we sent a man to the moon.  That’s how we invented the Internet.

When somebody tells us we can’t, we say, yes we can.  And I’m telling all of you, I am absolutely confident that America is poised to succeed in the same way as long as we don’t lose that spirit of innovation and recognize that we can only do it together.  And I’m going to work as hard as I can every single day to make sure that we do.

So congratulations, Argonne.  (Applause.)  Let’s keep it up.  Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless America.

END
1:50 P.M. CDT

Full Text Obama Presidency May 24, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Discusses Clean Energy Agenda in Iowa

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama Touts Clean Energy Agenda in Iowa

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-24-12

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….READ MORE

President Obama Talks Clean Energy in Iowa

Source: WH, 5-24-12

President Barack Obama at TPI Composites Iowa’s wind turbine blade facility (May 24, 2012)
cPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks urging Congress to act on the “To Do List” and highlighting the need to invest in clean energy by passing legislation, at TPI Composites Iowa’s wind turbine blade facility in Newton, Iowa, May 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

In Iowa this afternoon, President Obama continued to press lawmakers to take action on his To-Do List for Congress.

He traveled to Newton to push for the renewal of a tax credit for companies that produce clean energy. The credit currently supports as many as 37,000 jobs.

His host for the visit was TPI Composites — a company that makes blades for wind turbines and employs more 700 people.

“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. We can’t let that happen.”

Currently, 20 percent of all the electricity used in the Iowa is generated by wind power, and there are currently more wind power jobs in the state than in any other in America.

Overall, the United States generates enough electricity from wind to power 10 million homes. And there are 500 production facilities in 43 states putting people to work in that industry.

Later, he answered questions about the To-Do List on Twitter.

 

Remarks by the President on Energy in Newton, Iowa

TPI Composites
Newton, Iowa

4:30 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Iowa!  (Applause.)  Well, it is good to be back in Newton!  (Applause.)  It’s been a while.  It’s good to be back in Iowa.  It’s brought back memories — of a lot of driving.  (Laughter.)  And I just had a great tour of this facility.  By the way, if people have chairs, feel free to sit down.  (Laughter.)  Some of you may not have seats, but I want to make everybody comfortable.  But don’t worry, I’m not going to talk that long.  I didn’t want to give that impression.

I just had a wonderful tour of this facility.  And I was telling some of the folks we couldn’t take the helicopters in because the winds were too strong, so you are definitely in the right business.  (Laughter.)  Obviously there’s some wind power here in Iowa that we want to tap.

I want to thank Quinten for the terrific introduction and for sharing his story.  Give Quinten a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Quinten was telling my team this is the first time he’s ever spoken in public.  But he looked like a pro to me.  (Applause.)

I want to thank your mayor, Mayor Allen, for welcoming us here today.  (Applause.)  I also want to thank Representative Dave Loebsack for being here.  Give Dave a big round of applause. (Applause.)  And I know he had to leave early, but I just want to acknowledge somebody you know well — our outstanding Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.  (Applause.)  Tom was instrumental in helping transform Newton and he’s still got your back.  He is still fighting every single day for every single person in this town, but all across rural America.  And so we’re very proud of him.

Now, we all know how difficult these past few years have been for the country.  Iowa has actually done a little better than some other states, but it’s still been tough.  And after the worst recession of our lifetimes, it’s going to take some time for the economy to fully recover — more time than a lot of us would like.  And we’re still facing some headwinds, like the situation in Europe right now, which is having an impact on our economy.

But while there’s certain economic developments we can’t control, there are a bunch of things that we can control.  There are plenty of steps that we can take right now — steps that we must take right now — to speed up this recovery and to create jobs, and to restore some of the financial security that a lot of families have lost.  It’s within our control to do all of that right now.  But here’s the thing — (applause.)  It’s true, we can make that difference.

The challenge we’ve got is that too many folks aren’t on the same page.  We’ve got too many of my dear Republican friends in Congress that have been standing in the way of some steps that we could take that would make a difference at the moment.  Either they say they don’t want to do anything at all, or they don’t want to do it before the election, or they want to double down on some of the policies that didn’t work and helped to get us into this mess in the first place.

And Newton knows something about that — because Newton lost manufacturing.  Newton lost Maytag.  A lot of the trends that we had seen even before the financial crisis hit, hit Newton first. And so when you hear somebody say we should cut more taxes, especially for the wealthiest Americans, well, Newton, you’ve been there and you’ve done that.  We did that — 2000, 2001, 2003.  When you hear people say that we should cut back more on the rules we put in place for banks and financial institutions to avoid another taxpayer bailout — well, we tried that.  When people say that we should just wait until the housing market hits bottom and hope that it comes back, hope for the best — well, that’s not an answer for people.  That doesn’t make sense.

We’ve tried at lot of these ideas for nearly a decade.  It did not work.  We saw manufacturing moving offshore.  We saw a few people do very well, but too many families struggling just to get by — all before the financial crisis hit.  And the financial crisis made it worse.  So we can’t go backwards.  We’ve got to move forward.  We’ve got to build an economy where hard work and responsibility pay off, where you can find a good job and own your own home, maybe start your own businesses and give your kids a chance for a better future.  (Applause.)  That’s the American way.  That’s who we are.  (Applause.)

So I’ve been pushing Congress to help us get there by passing a few common-sense policies that would strengthen the economy and put more folks to work right now.  We even made a handy “To-Do” list that they can check off.  It’s just like the to-do list Michelle gives me, a “honey-do” list.  (Laughter.)  There are only five things on it, on this “To-Do” list, but these are all things we could get done before the election.  We don’t have to wait until then.  There are some things that we should put ahead of politics, and one of them is making sure that the economy is moving forward and the recovery is moving forward.  (Applause.)

And like I said, I kept it simple.  There are just five things.  I didn’t want to overload Congress with too much at once.  (Laughter.)  But these are all ideas that will make a difference right now and we shouldn’t wait for an election to get them done.

So first up on the list, it makes no sense that we’re actually still giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs and factories overseas.  That doesn’t make sense at all.  That doesn’t make any sense.  (Applause.)  So what I’ve asked Congress to do is end tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas, use that money to cover the moving expenses for companies that are bringing jobs back to the United States of America.  That’s a common-sense approach.  (Applause.)

Second, we’ve asked Congress to give every responsible homeowner — folks who have been making their mortgage payments  — the opportunity to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage and taking advantage of these historically low rates.  The problem is a lot of folks are having trouble refinancing if their home is underwater, if it’s worth less than their mortgage, and sometimes banks have been pulling back a little bit.  We want to make it easier for people to refinance.  So that’s the second thing because that will create  — that will put more money in the economy for everybody.  And if you’ve got an extra $3,000 in your pocket, then you’ll go shopping, you’ll go out to a restaurant — suddenly there’s a lot more money circulating and the economy gets stronger.  So that’s the second thing.

Two weeks ago I was in Reno, Nevada, with a family — they got a chance to refinance because of some steps that we had already taken administratively, and it’s making a huge difference in their lives.  And we want all families to have that same opportunity.

Third thing, instead of just talking about job creators — you always hear — every member of Congress has said, we’ve got to help the job creators.  Okay, let’s help them.  Congress should help small business owners who create most of the new jobs in America — small business owners — (Applause.)  So what we want to do is give them a tax break for hiring more workers and for paying them higher wages.  Give them an incentive to say, you know what, if on the margins maybe I’m thinking about hiring that extra person, if I get a tax break it makes that person a little bit cheaper to hire, and that can put more of our neighbors and friends back to work.  So that’s a common-sense idea.  (Applause.)

Fourth thing, we have done a whole lot to make sure that those men and women who have served us in Iraq and Afghanistan, that we are serving them as well as they’ve served us — (applause) — treating them with the honor and respect that they have earned when they come home.  (Applause.)  So we put together the Post-9/11 GI Bill so they’re able to go back and get some training and skills.  We mobilized the private sector to hire more veterans and give them the private sector incentives to hire more veterans.

But there’s another thing we can do.  Congress should create what we’re calling a Veterans Jobs Corps, so that we can help communities across America put our returning heroes back to work as police officers and firefighters and park rangers.  Nobody who fought for our country overseas should have to fight for a job when they come back home.  We’ve still got too much unemployment among our veterans.  (Applause.)

So those are four simple things.  And the fifth thing is the reason why I’m here today.  The fifth item on my “To-Do” list — I’m calling on Congress to extend tax credits that are set to expire at the end of the year for clean-energy companies like TPI.  (Applause.)  Let’s not wait.  Let’s do it now.  (Applause.)

Many of you know the story of what’s happening here better than I do, but I just want to remind you how far we’ve come.  Shortly after I took office, I came to Newton — some of you remember — and we unveiled an all-of-the-above energy strategy for America.  We said let’s produce more oil and gas, but let’s also produce more biofuels; let’s produce more fuel-efficient cars; let’s produce more solar and wind powerand other sources of clean, renewable energy.  And I came to Newton because Newton is helping to lead the way when it comes to building wind turbines.

And since then, our dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year that I’ve been in office — every single year. (Applause.)  America is now producing more domestic oil than any time in the last eight years.  But we’re also producing more natural gas, and we’re producing more biofuels than any time in our history.  And that’s good for the Iowa economy.  (Applause.) We’re laying the foundation for some of our nation’s first offshore wind farms.  And since I became President, America has nearly doubled the use of renewable energy, like solar power and wind power — we’ve nearly doubled it.  (Applause.)

So this country is on the path towards more energy independence.  And that’s good for everybody.  It’s good for people’s pocketbooks; it’s good for the environment; it’s good for our national security.  We don’t want our economy dependent on something that happens on the other side of the world.  We don’t want every time there’s a scare about war or some regime change in the Middle East that suddenly everybody here is getting socked and the whole economy is going down.

And the best thing is, in the process, we’re also putting thousands of Americans back to work — because the more we rely on American-made energy, the less oil we buy from other countries, the more jobs we create here at home, the more jobs we create here in Iowa.

So let’s look at the wind industry.  It’s so important to Iowa.  This industry, thanks in large part to some very important tax credits, has now taken off.  The state of Iowa now gets nearly 20 percent of all your electricity from wind — 20 percent.  Overall, America now has enough wind capacity to power 10 million homes.  So this is an industry on the rise.  And as you know, it’s an industry that’s putting people to work.  You know this firsthand.  There are more wind power jobs in Iowa than any other state.  That’s a big deal.  (Applause.)

And one of these modern windmills has more than 8,000 different parts — everything from the towers and the blades to the gears, to the electrical switches.  And it used to be that almost all these parts were imported.  Today, more and more of these parts are being made here in America — right here.  (Applause.)  We used to have just a few dozen manufacturing facilities attached to the wind industry.  Today we have nearly 500 facilities in 43 states employing tens of thousands of American workers — tens of thousands.

So we’re making progress.  And you know it better than anybody.  I mean, when I was talking to Quinten and Mark and a whole bunch of the other folks who are working here, they reminded me of the experience at working at Maytag and putting your heart and soul into a company and making a great product, and then, suddenly having that company leave, and how hard that was for families and how hard it was for the community.  But folks made the transition.

And now, when you look at what’s happening here — 700 to 800 jobs, over $30 million being put back into the community — this gives folks hope.  It gives people opportunity.  I met some folks who have been in manufacturing for 30 years, but I also met a couple of young folks who were just getting started.  And that’s what we’re looking for.  Nobody wants a handout.  Nobody wants to get something for nothing.  But if we’ve got a chance to create energy and create value and put people back to work, why wouldn’t we do that?

So I’m here today because, as much progress as we’ve made, that progress is in jeopardy.  If Congress doesn’t act, those tax credits that I mentioned — the ones that helped build up the wind industry, the ones that helped to bring all these jobs to Newton, those tax credits will expire at the end of the year if Congress doesn’t do anything.

If Congress doesn’t act, companies like this one will take a hit.  Jobs will be lost.  That’s not a guess, that’s a fact.  We can’t let that happen.  And keep in mind that — and this is something Congress needs to understand — Dave Loebsack understands it, but I want every member of Congress to understand it.  These companies that are putting in orders for these amazing blades, they’re making plans now.  They’re making decisions now. So if they’re cutting back on their orders, if they’re not confident that the industry is going to be moving at a fast clip and they start reducing orders here, that affects you.  You can’t wait for six months.  You can’t wait for eight months.  You can’t wait for a year to get this done.  It’s got to be done now.  (Applause.)

So this is a simple thing on Congress’s “To-Do” list — extend these tax credits.  Do it now.  Every day they don’t act business grows more concerned that they will not be renewed.  They’re worried demand for their products is going down, so they start thinking twice about expanding, more cautious about making new investments.  They start looking overseas.  I was talking to your CEO.  We got an opportunity to branch out, but we want to branch out by making the stuff here and then sending it there.  We don’t want to branch out by sending the jobs and the investments over there, and then shipping it back to America.  That doesn’t make sense.  (Applause.)  One company that had plans to invest $100 million to build a wind manufacturing plant in Arkansas — and create hundreds of jobs –- put those plans on hold.

And by the way, this should not be a partisan issue.  There are several Republican governors –- including the governor of this state -– who are calling on Congress to act.  There are members of Congress in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle –- including your two senators –- who support these tax credits.  And that doesn’t happen much in Washington where Democrats and Republicans say they agree on something.  So if you agree, why haven’t we gotten it done yet?

This is not just an issue, by the way, for the wind industry.   Some of America’s most prominent companies -– from Starbucks to Campbell’s Soup –- they’re calling on Congress to act because they use renewable energy.

Sometimes when I think about Washington and Congress — and I know some of you think the same way — I don’t get it.  I understand why we wouldn’t get something if we really disagree on something.  And there are some big disagreements:  They want to make big cuts to pay for more big tax cuts for the wealthy.  I disagree with that.  I think we should have a balanced approach  — cut waste, but make sure that everybody is paying their fair share.  (Applause.)  An issue like that, maybe it can’t get settled before an election because they just have a different approach.  I understand that.  But this, everybody says they agree to or at least a lot of people agree to it.

So I’m going to need your help.  I need you to get involved. I need you to help get this done.  I need everybody here in Newton — and I mean everybody — I don’t just mean folks who work at TPI — anybody who’s watching, everybody here in Iowa, pick up the phone, send an email, send a tweet, tell Congress, let’s do the right thing.  Tell Congress the story of Newton.  Tell folks why it’s so important to this community.  Tell them we’ve come too far to turn back now.  (Applause.)

It used to be Newton was known for building washers and dryers, used to be Newton was known for Maytag.  And obviously they were a big employer — thousands of people working in the area.  But back in 2007 when they closed down the operations here, that was a major blow.  And everybody here, if you don’t — if you weren’t affected personally by it, you were affected indirectly.  Your friends, your neighbors, friends like Quinten were forced to start all over again.  And he didn’t give up.  You didn’t give up.  You kept pushing ahead.  Some of you had to retrain.  Pretty soon after one industry had left, another showed up.  Some of the facilities that Maytag closed were reopened.  So a lot of folks who used to build washers and dryers, now they’re part of the future, building an industry that’s going to make America stronger.  That’s the story of Newton.  That’s the story of America.

So, yes, we’re facing tough times, but we’re getting through them.  We’re getting through them together — because in this country, just like in Newton, we don’t give up.  We keep moving. We keep moving forward.  And if we work together with a common purpose, we will get this economy back on track — and remind everybody why America is the greatest country on Earth.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
4:55 P.M. CDT

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

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

Full Text Obama Presidency March 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Energy Expediting Approval of the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline’s Southern End from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast of Texas in Cushing, Oklahoma

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Speaks in Cushing

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on energy at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard near Cushing, Okla., March 22, 2012. The President highlighted the Administration’s commitment to expanding domestic oil and gas production. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

Obama expediting southern Keystone oil pipeline

Source: USA Today, 3-22-12

President Obama said today he is expediting approval of the southern end of the Keystone XL oil pipeline — from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast of Texas — and he criticized Republicans for turning an energy and environmental issue into a political one.

“The southern leg of it, we’re making a priority,” Obama told workers during an 11-minute speech in Cushing, Okla., the terminus of the pipeline project.

House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans called Obama’s permit announcement meaningless because the southern end of the project is due to start construction in June anyway. And they continued to criticize Obama for blocking the northern part of Keystone, connecting the U.S. to oil supplies in Canada.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck compared Obama’s announcement to “the governor holding a press conference to renew my driver’s license — except this announcement still leaves American energy and jobs behind.”…READ MORE

Expanding Our Oil and Gas Pipeline Infrastructure

Source: WH, 3-22-12

Cushing, Oklahoma is an oil town. It’s a major hub for connecting our nation’s crude oil supply with refineries along the Gulf Coast, and the latest stop on President Obama’s cross-country tour to discuss American energy production.

Domestic oil and gas production is the highest it’s been in eight years. We’re actually producing so much that, even though we’ve added enough new oil and gas pipelines to circle the Earth in the last three years, we still don’t have enough pipeline to transport it all around the country quickly enough, particularly to our nation’s refineries.

And, as President Obama explained when he spoke there today, the fact that production is outpacing pipeline capacity is causing bottlenecks in places like Cushing, slowing our ability to further increase oil supplies when gas prices are high and we need it the most.

Modernizing pipeline infrastructure and expanding its ability to deliver oil to refineries and consumers around the country is a vital piece of a strategy to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and expand production of American-made energy. That’s why President Obama directed his Administration to expedite the permitting and construction process of a new pipeline that will help crude oil make its way to Gulf Coast refineries more quickly, and doing so while protecting natural resources and the health of local communities along the pipeline’s proposed path.

Read more about President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American-Made Energy

Cushing Pipe Yard
Cushing, Oklahoma

10:22 A.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Oklahoma!  (Applause.)  Well, it’s good to be here.  Everybody, have a seat.  Have a seat.

AUIDENCE MEMBER:  I love you, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  It’s wonderful to see you.

It is good to be back in Oklahoma.  I haven’t been back here since the campaign, and everybody looks like they’re doing just fine.  (Laughter.)  Thank you so much for your hospitality.  It is wonderful to be here.

Yesterday, I visited Nevada and New Mexico to talk about what we’re calling an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  It’s a strategy that will keep us on track to further reduce our dependence on foreign oil, put more people back to work, and ultimately help to curb the spike in gas prices that we’re seeing year after year after year.

So today, I’ve come to Cushing, an oil town — (applause) — because producing more oil and gas here at home has been, and will continue to be, a critical part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  (Applause.)

Now, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  (Applause.)  That’s important to know.  Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states.  We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high.  We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some.

So we are drilling all over the place — right now.  That’s not the challenge.  That’s not the problem.  In fact, the problem in a place like Cushing is that we’re actually producing so much oil and gas in places like North Dakota and Colorado that we don’t have enough pipeline capacity to transport all of it to where it needs to go — both to refineries, and then, eventually, all across the country and around the world.  There’s a bottleneck right here because we can’t get enough of the oil to our refineries fast enough.  And if we could, then we would be able to increase our oil supplies at a time when they’re needed as much as possible.

Now, right now, a company called TransCanada has applied to build a new pipeline to speed more oil from Cushing to state-of-the-art refineries down on the Gulf Coast.  And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.  (Applause.)

Now, you wouldn’t know all this from listening to the television set.  (Laughter.)  This whole issue of the Keystone pipeline had generated, obviously, a lot of controversy and a lot of politics.  And that’s because the original route from Canada into the United States was planned through an area in Nebraska that supplies some drinking water for nearly 2 million Americans, and irrigation for a good portion of America’s croplands.  And Nebraskans of all political stripes — including the Republican governor there — raised some concerns about the safety and wisdom of that route.

So to be extra careful that the construction of the pipeline in an area like that wouldn’t put the health and the safety of the American people at risk, our experts said that we needed a certain amount of time to review the project.  Unfortunately, Congress decided they wanted their own timeline — not the company, not the experts, but members of Congress who decided this might be a fun political issue, decided to try to intervene and make it impossible for us to make an informed decision.

So what we’ve said to the company is, we’re happy to review future permits.  And today, we’re making this new pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf a priority.  So the southern leg of it we’re making a priority, and we’re going to go ahead and get that done. The northern portion of it we’re going to have to review properly to make sure that the health and safety of the American people are protected.  That’s common sense.

But the fact is that my administration has approved dozens of new oil and gas pipelines over the last three years -– including one from Canada.  And as long as I’m President, we’re going to keep on encouraging oil development and infrastructure and we’re going to do it in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people.  We don’t have to choose between one or the other, we can do both.  (Applause.)

So if you guys are talking to your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, your aunts or uncles and they’re wondering what’s going on in terms of oil production, you just tell them anybody who suggests that somehow we’re suppressing domestic oil production isn’t paying attention.  They are not paying attention.  (Applause.)

What you also need to tell them is anybody who says that just drilling more gas and more oil by itself will bring down gas prices tomorrow or the next day or even next year, they’re also not paying attention.  They’re not playing it straight.  Because we are drilling more, we are producing more.  But the fact is, producing more oil at home isn’t enough by itself to bring gas prices down.

And the reason is we’ve got an oil market that is global, that is worldwide.  And I’ve been saying for the last few weeks, and I want everybody to understand this, we use 20 percent of the world’s oil; we only produce 2 percent of the world’s oil.  Even if we opened every inch of the country — if I put a oil rig on the South Lawn — (laughter) — if we had one right next to the Washington Monument, even if we drilled every little bit of this great country of ours, we’d still have to buy the rest of our needs from someplace else if we keep on using the same amount of energy, the same amount of oil.

The price of oil will still be set by the global market.  And that means every time there’s tensions that rise in the Middle East — which is what’s happening right now — so will the price of gas.  The main reason the gas prices are high right now is because people are worried about what’s happening with Iran.  It doesn’t have to do with domestic oil production.  It has to do with the oil markets looking and saying, you know what, if something happens there could be trouble and so we’re going to price oil higher just in case.

Now, that’s not the future that we went.  We don’t want to be vulnerable to something that’s happening on the other side of the world somehow affecting our economy, or hurting a lot of folks who have to drive to get to work.  That’s not the future I want for America.  That’s not the future I want for our kids.  I want us to control our own energy destiny.  I want us to determine our own course.

So, yes, we’re going to keep on drilling.  Yes, we’re going to keep on emphasizing production.  Yes, we’re going to make sure that we can get oil to where it’s needed.  But what we’re also going to be doing as part of an all-of-the-above strategy is looking at how we can continually improve the utilization of renewable energy sources, new clean energy sources, and how do we become more efficient in our use of energy.  (Applause.)

That means producing more biofuels, which can be great for our farmers and great for rural economies.  It means more fuel-efficient cars.  It means more solar power.  It means more wind power — which, by the way, nearly tripled here in Oklahoma over the past three years in part because of some of our policies.

We want every source of American-made energy.  I don’t want the energy jobs of tomorrow going to other countries.  I want them here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  And that’s what an all-of-the-above strategy is all about.  That’s how we break our dependence on foreign oil.  (Applause.)

Now, the good news is we’re already seeing progress.  Yesterday, I went, in Nevada, to the largest solar plant of its kind anywhere in the country.  Hundreds of workers built it.  It’s powering thousands of homes, and they’re expanding to tens of thousands of homes more as they put more capacity online.

After 30 years of not doing anything, we finally increased fuel-efficiency standards on cars and trucks, and Americans are now designing and building cars that will go nearly twice as far on the same gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade.  And that’s going to save the average family $8,000 over the life of a car.  (Applause.)  And it’s going to save a lot of companies a lot of money because they’re hurt by rising fuel costs, as well.

All of these steps have helped put America on the path to greater energy independence.  Since I took office, our dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  Last year, we imported 1 million fewer barrels per day than the year before.  Think about that.  (Applause.)  America, at a time when we’re growing, is actually importing less oil from overseas because we’re using it smarter and more efficiently.  America is now importing less than half the oil we use for the first time in more than a decade.

So the key is to keep it going, Oklahoma.  We’ve got to make sure that we don’t go backwards, that we keep going forwards.  If we’re going to end our dependence on foreign oil, if we’re going to bring gas prices down once and for all, as opposed to just playing politics with it every single year, then what we’re going to have to do is to develop every single source of energy that we’ve got, every new technology that can help us become more efficient.

We’ve got to use our innovation.  We’ve got to use our brain power.  We’ve got to use our creativity.  We’ve got to have a vision for the future, not just constantly looking backwards at the past.  That’s where we need to go.  That’s the future we can build.

And that’s what America has always been about, is building the future.  We’ve always been at the cutting-edge.  We’re always ahead of the curve.  Whether it’s Thomas Edison or the Wright Brothers or Steve Jobs, we’re always thinking about what’s the next thing.  And that’s how we have to think about energy.  And if we do, not only are we going to see jobs and growth and success here in Cushing, Oklahoma, we’re going to see it all across the country.

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

END
10:32 A.M. CDT

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.

Full Text Obama Presidency March 15, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Energy Policy at Prince George’s Community College

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Obama Defends Energy Policy, Hitting Back at Presidential Candidates


Doug Mills/The New York Times
President Obama giving a speech on his energy policies at the Prince Georges Community College in Largo, Md.

Source: NYT, 3-15-12

In what has become a weekly ritual, President Obama on Thursday defended his administration’s energy policy, in the face of relentlessly rising gasoline prices, to an American public that believes he can do more to ease the pain at the pump.

Mr. Obama cycled through now-familiar themes, promoting his record of increased domestic oil and gas production; stricter fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks; and investments in alternative sources of energy, like biofuels, wind and solar power. The administration’s energy policy has been the focus of many speeches the president has given in recent weeks.

But on Thursday he delivered a notably sarcastic rebuttal to his Republican presidential challengers, particularly Newt Gingrich, who has promised, if elected, to bring down gas prices to $2.50 a gallon, and has ridiculed the president’s talk of making fuel from algaeREAD MORE

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on Energy

Prince George’s Community College
Largo, Maryland

11:05 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Well, I am so — what a wonderful reception.  (Applause.)  That is so nice.  Thank you.  You’re all just cheering because I know Michelle.  (Laughter.)  Well, it is wonderful to be here.  Folks who have a seat, feel free to take a seat.

I want to thank Roy for that introduction.  He talks pretty smooth, right?  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s great to be back in Maryland.  It’s great to be here at Prince George’s Community College.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  Now, but before I start, I want to thank your other president, Dr. Charlene Dukes.  (Applause.)  Your Governor, Martin O’Malley, is in the house.  (Applause.)  Lieutenant Governor Brown is here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got one of the finest members of the United States Senate that you could hope to have in Ben Cardin.  (Applause.)  Congresswoman Donna Edwards is here.  (Applause.) And County Executive Rushern Baker is here.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank all of you for coming out here today.  (Applause.)

Now, I just finished learning about some of the work that you’re doing here at this community college to make sure that homes are using less energy, and helping folks save money on their heating and their air-conditioning bills.  And I was very impressed.  I’m even more impressed because I know this program is giving a lot of people a chance to make a decent living — everyone from veterans to folks with disabilities to folks who’ve just been down on their luck but want to work.  So I want you to know how proud I am of this program, of this institution, of all of you.  (Applause.)

The skills that you gain here at this community college will be the surest path to success in this economy.  Because if there’s one thing that we’re thinking about a lot these days, is, first of all, how do we make sure that American workers have the skills and education they need to be able to succeed in this competitive global economy?  And community colleges all across the country and all across Maryland are doing an outstanding job providing young people that first opportunity after high school but also helping older workers retrain for the jobs of the future because the economy is constantly adapting.  (Applause.)

So community colleges are big.  Community colleges are critical to our long-term success.  What’s also critical to our long-term success is the question of energy:  How do we use less energy?  How do we produce more energy right here in the United States of America?

And I know this is an especially important topic for everybody right now because you guys have to fill up at the gas station.

AUDIENCE:  Yeah!

THE PRESIDENT:  And it’s rough.  Gas prices and the world oil markets right now are putting a lot of pressure on families right now.  And one of the things that is important to remember is for a lot of folks, just doing what you have to do to get your kids to school, to get to the job, to do grocery shopping
— you don’t have an option.  You’ve got to be able to fill up that gas tank.  And when prices spike on the world market, it’s like a tax, it’s like somebody is going into your pocket.

We passed the payroll tax at the beginning of this year to make sure that everybody had an extra $40 in their paycheck, on average — (applause) — in part because we anticipated that gas prices might be going up like they did last year, given tight world oil supplies.

But that doesn’t make it easier for a lot of families out there that are just struggling to get by.  This is tough.  Now, the question is, how do we meet this challenge?  Because right now we’re starting to see a lot of politicians talking a lot but not doing much.  (Applause.)  And we’ve seen this movie before.  (Applause.)  Gas prices went up around this time last year.  Gas prices shot up in the spring and summer of 2008 — I remember, I was running for President at the time.  This has been going on for years now.

And every time prices start to go up — especially in an election year — politicians dust off their 3-point plans for $2.00 gas.  (Laughter.)  I guess this year they decided, we’re going to make it $2.50.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know where — why not $2.40?  (Laughter.)  Why not $2.10?  (Laughter.)  But they tell the same story.  They head down to the gas station; they make sure a few cameras are following them — (laughter) — and then they start acting like we’ve got a magic wand and we will give you cheap gas forever if you just elect us.  (Laughter.)  Every time.  Been the same script for 30 years.  It’s like a bad rerun.  (Laughter.)

Now, here’s the thing — because we’ve seen it all before, we know better.  You know better.  There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to high gas prices.  There’s no silver bullet.  Anybody who tells you otherwise isn’t really looking for a solution — they’re trying to ride the political wave of the moment.

Usually, the most common thing, when you actually ask them — all right, how is it that you’re going to get back to $2.00 a gallon gas, how are you going to do it, specifically, what is your plan — then typically what you’ll hear from them is, well, if we just drilled more for oil then gas prices would immediately come down and all our problems would go away.  That’s usually the response.

Now, Maryland, there are two problems with that answer.  First of all, we are drilling.  Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  (Applause.)  Any time.  That’s a fact.  That’s a fact.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high.  I want everybody to listen to that — we have more oil rigs operating now than ever.  That’s a fact.  We’ve approved dozens of new pipelines to move oil across the country.  We announced our support for a new one in Oklahoma that will help get more oil down to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Over the last three years, my administration has opened millions of acres of land in 23 different states for oil and gas exploration.  (Applause.)  Offshore, I’ve directed my administration to open up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources.  That includes an area in the Gulf of Mexico we opened up a few months ago that could produce more than 400 million barrels of oil.

So do not tell me that we’re not drilling.  (Applause.)  We’re drilling all over this country.  (Applause.)  I guess there are a few spots where we’re not drilling.  We’re not drilling in the National Mall.  (Laughter.)  We’re not drilling at your house.  (Laughter.)  I guess we could try to have, like, 200 oil rigs in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, that’s the question.  We are drilling at a record pace but we’re doing so in a way that protects the health and safety and the natural resources of the American people.  (Applause.)

So that’s point number one.  If you start hearing this “drill, baby, drill; drill, drill, drill” — if you start hearing that again, just remember you’ve got the facts — we’re doing that.  Tell me something new.  (Applause.)  That’s problem number one.

Here’s the second problem with what some of these politicians are talking about.  There’s a problem with a strategy that only relies on drilling and that is, America uses more than 20 percent of the world’s oil.  If we drilled every square inch of this country — so we went to your house and we went to the National Mall and we put up those rigs everywhere — we’d still have only 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves.  Let’s say we miss something — maybe it’s 3 percent instead of 2.  We’re using 20; we have 2.

Now, you don’t need to be getting an excellent education at Prince George’s Community College to know that we’ve got a math problem here.  (Laughter and applause.)  I help out Sasha occasionally with her math homework and I know that if you’ve got 2 and you’ve got 20, there’s a gap.  (Laughter.)  There’s a gap, right?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  Do we have anybody who’s good at math here?  Am I right?  (Applause.)  Okay.

So if we don’t develop other sources of energy, if we don’t develop the technology to use less energy to make our economy more energy-efficient, then we will always be dependent on foreign countries for our energy needs.  (Applause.)

And that means every time there’s instability in the Middle East, which is the main thing that’s driving oil prices up right now — it’s the same thing that was driving oil prices up last year — every time that happens, every time that there’s unrest, any time that there’s concern about a conflict, suddenly, oil futures shoot up, you’re going to feel it at the pump.  It will happen every single time.

We will not fully be in control of our energy future if our strategy is only to drill for the 2 percent but we still have to buy the 20 percent.  And there’s another wrinkle to this — other countries use oil, too.  We’re not the only ones.  So you’ve got rapidly-growing nations like China and India, and they’re all starting to buy cars.  They’re getting wealthier.  They want cars, too.  And that means the price of gas will rise.

Just to give you an example — in 2010, China alone added 10 million new cars.  That’s just in one year.  And there are about a billion Chinese.  So they’ve got a lot more people who are going to want cars in the future, which means they are going to want to get some of that oil and that will drive prices up.  So we can’t just drill our way out of the problem.  We are drilling, but it’s not going to solve our problem.

That’s not the future I want for the United States of America.  We can’t allow ourselves to be held hostage to events on the other side of the globe.  That’s not who we are.  (Applause.)  America controls its own destiny.  We’re not dependent on somebody else.  (Applause.)

So we can’t have an energy strategy for the last century that traps us in the past.  We need an energy strategy for the future — an all-of-the-above strategy for the 21st century that develops every source of American-made energy.  Yes, develop as much oil and gas as we can, but also develop wind power and solar power and biofuels.  (Applause.)  Make our buildings more fuel-efficient.  Make our homes more fuel-efficient.  Make our cars and trucks more fuel-efficient so they get more miles for the gallon.  (Applause.)  That’s where I want to take this country.  (Applause.)

And here’s — the best part of it is thousands of Americans have jobs right now because we’ve doubled the use of clean energy in this country since I came into office.  And I want to keep on making those investments.  (Applause.)  I don’t want to see wind turbines and solar panels and high-tech batteries made in other countries by other workers.  I want to make them here.  (Applause.)  I want to make them here in Maryland.  I want to make them here in the United States of America, with American workers.  That’s what I want.  (Applause.)

So when I came into office, we said, all right, how are we going to start moving America in that direction?  It’s not a thing you get done in one year, but how do we start moving in that direction?  So after 30 years of not doing anything, we raised fuel economy standards on cars and trucks so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon — that’s double what we get today — 55 miles per gallon.  (Applause.)  Fifty-five miles a gallon.

So the young people here who were driving those beaters that — (laughter) — getting 5 miles per gallon — (laughter) — we’re going to get you to 55.  And that will save the average family more than $8,000 over the life of a car — $8,000.  (Applause.)  That will help pay some bills.  That means you’ll be able to fill up every two weeks instead of every week.  (Applause.)  And those are the cars we need to keep building here in the United States.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, we can do that.  (Applause.)

All right, so now, to fuel these cars and trucks, obviously if they’re using less gas, that’s great.  That saves us; we’re using less oil.  But we also want to invest in clean advanced biofuels that can replace some of the oil that we’re currently using.  That’s important.  (Applause.)

Already, we’re using these biofuels to power everything from city buses to UPS trucks to Navy ships.  I want to see more of these fuels in American cars — homegrown fuels — because that means we’re buying less oil from foreign countries and we’re creating jobs here in the United States — (applause) — including big parts of rural America, big parts of rural Maryland, where the economy oftentimes is struggling and you have a real opportunity to create entire new industries and put people to work.  And it’s happening all across the country.

So all of these steps have put us on a path of greater energy independence.  Here’s a statistic I want everybody to remember next time you’re talking to somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  (Laughter.)  Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year.  (Applause.)  In 2010, our oil dependence, the amount that we’re bringing in, the percentage we’re bringing in, was under 50 percent for the first time in 13 years.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to do better than that, and we can do better than that.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)  But in order to do better than that, we’ve got to tell the folks who are stuck in the past that our future depends on this all-of-the-above energy strategy.  That’s our job.  That it can’t just be — it can’t just be drilling for more oil.  We’re drilling for more oil, but that can’t be all the solution; that’s just part of the solution.

Now, here’s the sad thing.  Lately, we’ve heard a lot of professional politicians, a lot of the folks who are running for a certain office — (laughter) — who shall go unnamed — (laughter) — they’ve been talking down new sources of energy.  They dismiss wind power.  They dismiss solar power.  They make jokes about biofuels.  They were against raising fuel standards. I guess they like gas-guzzlers.  They think that’s good for our future.  We’re trying to move towards the future; they want to be stuck in the past.

We’ve heard this kind of thinking before.  Let me tell you something.  If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail — (laughter) — they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society.  (Laughter.)  They would not have believed that the world was round.  (Applause.)  We’ve heard these folks in the past.  They probably would have agreed with one of the pioneers of the radio who said, “Television won’t last.  It’s a flash in the pan.”  (Laughter.)  One of Henry Ford’s advisors was quoted as saying, “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a fad.”  (Laughter.)

There have always been folks like that.  There always have been folks who are the naysayers and don’t believe in the future, and don’t believe in trying to do things differently.  One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, “It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?”  (Laughter.)  That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore — (laughter and applause) — because he’s looking backwards.  He’s not looking forwards.  (Applause.)  He’s explaining why we can’t do something, instead of why we can do something.

The point is, there will always be cynics and naysayers who just want to keep on doing things the same way that we’ve always done them.  They want to double down on the same ideas that got us into some of the mess that we’ve been in.  But that’s not who we are as Americans.  See, America has always succeeded because we refuse to stand still.  We put faith in the future.  We are inventors.  We are builders.  We are makers of things.  We are Thomas Edison.  We are the Wright Brothers.  We are Bill Gates.  We are Steve Jobs.  That’s who we are.  (Applause.)

That’s who we need to be right now.  That’s who we need to be right now.  I don’t understand when I hear folks who are in elected office, or aspiring to elected office, who ignore the facts and seem to just want to get a cute bumper sticker line, instead of actually trying to solve our problems.  (Applause.)

What I just said about energy, by the way, is not disputed by any energy expert.  Everybody agrees with this.  So why is it that somebody who wants to help lead the country would be ignoring the facts?  (Applause.)

If you want an example of what I’m talking about, consider an important issue that’s before Congress right now.

I think somebody may have fainted.  All right.  Remember next time if you’re going to stand for a long time, you got to eat.  (Laughter.)  I’m — no, no, it’s true.  You got to get something to eat.  You got to get some juice.  I’m just saying.  It’s true.  They’ll be okay, just make sure to give them space.

The question — there’s a question before Congress I want everybody to know about.  The question is whether or not we should keep giving $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the oil industry.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  The oil industry has been subsidized by you, the taxpayer, for about a hundred years — 100 years.  One hundred years, a century.  So some of the same folks who are complaining about biofuels getting subsidies, or wind or solar energy getting subsidies, or electric cars and advanced batteries getting subsidies to help get them off the ground, these same folks — when you say, why are we still giving subsidies to the oil industry –- “well, no, we need those.”

Oil companies are making more money right now than they’ve ever made.  On top of the money they’re getting from you at the gas station every time you fill up, they want some of your tax dollars as well.

That doesn’t make any sense.  Does it make sense?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s inexcusable.  It is time for this oil industry giveaway to end.  (Applause.)  So in the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies.  And when they do, they’ll put every single member of Congress on record.  I guess you can stand up for the oil companies who really don’t need much help, or they can stand up for the American people, because we can take that $4 billion — we could be investing it in clean energy in a good energy future, in fuel efficiency.  (Applause.)  We could actually be trying to solve a vital problem.

They can bet — they can place their bets on the energy of the past, or they can place their bets on America’s future — on American workers, American ingenuity, American technology, American science, American-made energy, American efficiency, American productivity.  (Applause.)  We can bet on America and our own capacity to solve this problem.  (Applause.)  That’s the choice we face.  That’s what’s at stake right now.

Maryland, we know what direction we have to go in.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  And every American out there, as frustrated as they are about gas prices right now, when you actually ask people, they’ll tell you, yes, we’ve got to find new sources of energy.  We got to find new ways of doing things.  People understand that.  We just got to get Washington to understand it.  We got to get politicians to understand it.

We’ve got to invest in a serious, sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy that develops every resource available for the 21st century.  We’ve got to choose between the past and the future.  And that’s a choice we shouldn’t be afraid to make because we’ve always bet on the future, and we’re good at it.  America is good at the future.  We are good at being ahead of the curve.  We’re good at being on the cutting edge.  (Applause.)

Ending these subsidies won’t bring down gas prices 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, and being caught in this position, where what happens in the Middle East ends up taking money out of your pocket, if we want to stabilize energy prices for the long term and the medium term, if we want America to grow, we’re going to have look past what we’ve been doing and put ourselves on the path to a real, sustainable energy future.

That’s the future you deserve.  So I need all of you to make your voices heard.  (Applause.)  Get on the phone, write an email, send a letter, let your member of Congress know where you stand.  Tell them to do the right thing.  Tell them we can win this fight.  Tell them we’re going to combine our creativity and our optimism, our brainpower, our manpower, our womanpower.  Tell them:  Yes, we can.  (Applause.)

Tell them we are going to build an economy that lasts.  Tell them we’re going to make this the American century just like the last century.

Thank you, Prince George’s County.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Prince George’s Community College.  Thank you, Maryland.  (Applause.)  Let’s get to work.  God bless you.  God bless America.

END
11:37 A.M. EDT

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