Full Text Obama Presidency February 18, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Fuel Efficiency Standards of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles



Remarks by the President on Fuel Efficiency Standards of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Source: WH, 2-18-14 

Safeway Distribution Center
Upper Marlboro, Maryland

11:30 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, good morning, everybody.  (Applause.)  It is good to be here.  And I want to thank Jack Jacobs and all the folks at Safeway for having us here today, at this busy distribution center where delivery trucks get everything from Doritos to diapers where they need to go.  And by the way, I have a little soft spot for Safeway in my heart because some of you know I went to high school in Hawaii and I was living with my grandparents, and our main grocery store was Safeway.  It was right down the way.  (Applause.)  And so my grandmother would send me out to go shopping at Safeway, and everybody there always treated me very well.  So I very much appreciate the good work you guys do.

And I want to thank all the workers and businesspeople and labor leaders and environmental leaders who are here today as we take another big step to grow our economy and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.

In my State of the Union address, I said that this would be a year of action, and I meant it.  So over the past three weeks, I’ve acted to require federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour, because we believe in a higher minimum wage.  (Applause.)  I’ve ordered an across-the-board reform of job training programs so we can train workers with the skills that employers actually need and match them to the good jobs that are out there right now needing to be filled.  I directed the Treasury Secretary to create something we’re calling “myRA” — it’s a new way to help working Americans start saving for retirement.  And we’ve brought together business leaders who’ve committed to helping more unemployed Americans find work, no matter how long they’ve been looking.

So the point is I’m eager to work with Congress wherever I can — but whenever I can act on my own to expand opportunity for more Americans and help build our middle class, I’m going to do that.

And all of you I think understand that although the economy has been doing better, we’ve spent the past five years fighting our way back from the worst recession of our lifetimes.  Now, the economy is growing.  Our businesses have created over 8.5 million new jobs over the past four years.  The unemployment rate is actually the lowest it’s been in over five years.  But the trends, the long-term trends that have hurt middle-class families for decades have continued — folks at the top doing better than ever before; average wages and incomes have barely budged.  Too many Americans are working harder than ever just to keep up.

So our job is to not only get the economy growing but also to reverse these trends and make sure that everybody can succeed.  We’ve got to build an economy that works for everybody, not just the fortunate few.  Opportunity for all — that’s the essence of America.  No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter how you start out, if you’re willing to work hard and take responsibility, you can succeed.

So I’ve laid out an opportunity agenda to help us do that.  Part one is create more new jobs that pay good wages — jobs in manufacturing, energy, exports, innovation.  Part two, we’ve got to train folks with the skills they need to fill those jobs.  Part three, we’ve got to guarantee every child access to a world-class education.  Part four is making sure that the economy rewards hard work with equal pay for equal work and wages you can live on, savings you can retire on, health insurance you can count on that’s there when you need it.

Now, there are very few factors that are helping grow our economy more, bringing more good jobs back to America than our commitment to American manufacturing and American energy.  And that’s why we’re here today.

Five years ago, we set out to break our dependence on foreign oil.  And today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.  For the first time in nearly 20 years, America produces more oil here at home than we buy from other countries.  Our levels of dangerous carbon pollution that contributes to climate change has actually gone down even as our production has gone up.  And one of the reasons why is because we dedicated ourselves to manufacturing new cars and new trucks that go farther on a gallon of gas — and that saves families money, it cuts down harmful pollution, and it creates new advances in American technology.

So for decades, the fuel efficiency standards of our cars and trucks was stuck in neutral even as other kinds of technology leapt forward.  And that left families and businesses and our economy vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices.  Every time oil prices shot up the economy got hurt.  Our automakers were in danger of being left in the dust by foreign automakers.  Carbon pollution was going unchecked, which was having severe impacts on our weather.

And that’s why, after taking office, my administration worked with automakers, autoworkers, environmental advocates, and states across the country, and we set in motion the first-ever national policy aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States.  And as our automakers retooled and prepared to start making the world’s best cars again, we aimed to raise fuel economy standards to 35.5 miles per gallon for a new vehicle by 2016.


THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, wow.  (Laughter and applause.)

That was an increase of more than eight miles per gallon over what cars had averaged at the time.  And what we were clear about was if you set a rule, if you set a clear goal, we would give our companies the certainty that they needed to innovate and out-build the rest of the world.  They could figure it out if they had a goal that they were trying to reach.  And thanks to their ingenuity and hard work, we’re going to meet that goal.

Two years later, we’ve already seen enormous progress, and we’re building on that progress by setting an even more ambitious target:  We’re going to double the distance our cars and light trucks can go on a gallon of gas by 2025.  We’re going to double it.  And that means — (applause) — that’s big news.  Because what it means is you’ve got to fill up every two weeks instead of every week, and that saves the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time.  I’m assuming you can use $8,000 — (laughter and applause) — that you’re not paying at the gas station.  And, in the process, it cuts American oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.

So we let the automakers decide how they were going to do it.  We set the goal and we said, go figure it out.  And they invested in innovative and cost-effective technologies.  And some are already making cars that beat the target of nearly 55 miles per gallon.  They’ve got plug-in hybrids.  They’ve got electric vehicles.  They’re taking advantage of the investments that the Recovery Act made in American advances in battery technology.  So cars are getting better and they’re getting more fuel-efficient all the time.

And for anybody who said this couldn’t be done or that it would hurt the American auto industry, the American auto industry sold more cars last year than any time since 2007.  (Applause.)  And since we stepped in to help the automakers retool, the American auto industry has created almost 425,000 new jobs.

So we raised fuel efficiency, helped consumers, helped improve air quality, and we’re making better cars than ever and the automakers are hiring more folks again for good jobs all across the country.  (Applause.)  More plants are running at full capacity — some are even running three shifts, 24 hours a day — churning out some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, high-performance cars in the world.

And that’s a story of American ingenuity, American grit, and everybody has a right to be proud of it.  But today we’re taking the next step.

Heavy-duty trucks account for just 4 percent of all the vehicles on the highway.  I know when you’re driving sometimes it feels like it’s more — (laughter) — but they’re only 4 percent of all the vehicles.  But they’re responsible for about 20 percent of carbon pollution in the transportation sector.  So trucks like these are responsible for about 20 percent of our on-road fuel consumption.  And because they haul about 70 percent of all domestic freight — 70 percent of the stuff we use, everything from flat-screen TVs to diapers to produce to you name it — every mile that we gain in fuel efficiency is worth thousands of dollars of savings every year.

So that’s why we’re investing in research to get more fuel economy gains.  And thanks to a partnership between industry and my administration, the truck behind me was able to achieve a 75 percent improvement in fuel economy over the last year — 75 percent.  That’s why we call this “SuperTruck.”  (Laughter.)  It’s impressive, this one right here, as well.  I mean, these are — first of all, they’re really big.  (Laughter.)  But you can see how they’ve redesigned the truck in order for us to save fuel economy.

And improving gas mileage for these trucks are going to drive down our oil imports even further.  That reduces carbon pollution even more, cuts down on businesses’ fuel costs, which should pay off in lower prices for consumers.  So it’s not just a win-win, it’s a win-win-win.  You’ve got three wins.


THE PRESIDENT:  In 2011, we set new standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that take effect this year and last until 2018.  Three weeks ago, in my State of the Union address, I said we’d build on that success.  Today, I’m directing the Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, who is right here — former mayor of Charlotte — (applause) — and Gina McCarthy, the Administrator of EPA — (applause) — two outstanding public servants — their charge, their goal is to develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks that will take us well into the next decade, just like our cars.  And they’re going to partner with manufacturers and autoworkers and states and other stakeholders, truckers, to come up with a proposal by March of next year, and they’ll complete the rule a year after that.

And businesses that buy these types of trucks have sent a clear message to the nearly 30,000 workers who build them:  We want trucks that use less oil, save more money, cut pollution.  So far, 23 companies have joined our National Clean Fleets Partnership to reduce their oil consumption or replace their old fleets of trucks with more fuel-efficient models.  And, collectively, they operate about 1 million commercial vehicles nationwide.

So this is a lot of companies, and some of them are competitors.  And if rivals like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, or UPS and FedEx, or AT&T and Verizon — if they can join together on this, then maybe Democrats and Republicans can do the same.  (Applause.)  Maybe Democrats and Republicans can get together.  (Applause.)

So when you see these companies’ new electric or natural gas-powered delivery or garbage trucks, it’s due to this partnership.  And the reason we’re here is because Safeway was an early leader on this issue.  By improving the aerodynamics of its trucks, investing in larger trailers, more efficient tires, Safeway has improved its own fuel efficiency.  And the results are so solid that Safeway now encourages all the companies it hires to ship its products to do the same.

So to help our businesses and manufacturers meet this new goal, we’re offering new tax credits — both for companies that manufacture heavy-duty alternative-fuel vehicles and those that build fuel infrastructure so that trucks running on biodiesel or natural gas or hybrid electric technology, they’ll have more places to fill up.

Let me say this.  The goal we’re setting is ambitious, but these are areas where ambition has worked out really well for us so far.  Don’t make small plans, make big plans.  And anybody who had dire predictions for the auto industry, said we couldn’t do it, manufacturers couldn’t bring jobs back to America — every time they say that they’re proven wrong.  Every time somebody says you can’t grow the economy while bringing down pollution, it’s turned out they’ve been wrong.  (Applause.)  Anybody who says we can’t compete when it comes to clean energy technologies like solar and wind, they’ve had to eat those words.  You can’t bet against American workers or American industry.  You can’t bet against America.  Otherwise you’re going to lose money every time, because we know how to do this when we set broad, ambitious goals for ourselves.  (Applause.)

So from day one, we’ve known we had to rebuild our economy and transition to a clean-energy future, and we knew it wouldn’t be easy or quick, and we’ve got a lot of work to do on both counts.  But the economy is growing.  We’re creating jobs.  We’re generating more clean energy.  We’re cutting our dependence on foreign oil.  We’re pumping out less dangerous carbon pollution.  If we keep going down this road, then we’re going to have a future full of good-paying jobs.

We’ve got assembly lines that are humming with the components of a clean energy age.  We got more of the best trucks and cars in the world designed and engineered and made in America.

If we keep on going, we’re going to leave a better future for our children.  And I’m proud of Safeway and all its workers for helping to show us the way.  If it can be done here, it can be done all across the country.

So congratulations to all of you.  Thank you and God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

11:47 A.M. EST


Political Musings February 5, 2014: Obama announces leaving major XL Keystone Pipeline decision making to Kerry





Obama announces leaving major XL Keystone Pipeline decision making to Kerry

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The major news of the second part of the Bill O’Reilly and President Barack Obama Super Bowl interview that aired on Monday evening, Feb. 3, 2014 during the regularly scheduled The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News…READ MORE

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



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 February 23, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Home-Grown Energy at the University of Miami



President Obama Describes an All-of-the-Above Strategy for Energy

Source: WH, 2-23-12

President Barack Obama tours the University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center (February 23, 2012)

President Barack Obama tours the University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center in Miami, Florida, Feb. 23, 2012. The IAC is where students learn how to become industrial energy-efficiency experts as they help small to mid-sized manufacturers reduce their energy costs. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama was in Miami today to talk about securing a future for America built on home-grown energy — and his blueprint to help us get there.

Part of the conversation focused on fuel prices — and the fact that they’re increasing. It’s a real problem for people all over the country, which the President said required a real solution, not a slogan from a bumper sticker.

You know there are no quick fixes to this problem. You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices. If we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year — when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world — if we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more.

As President Obama pointed out, that’s a vision toward which we are making progress:

In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50 percent for the first time in over a decade. We were less reliant on foreign oil than we had been. In 2011, the United States relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last 16 years. That’s the good news. And because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled -– and thousands of American jobs have been created as a consequence.

But there is still much more that needs to be done. The President is fighting to roll back the $4 billion in tax subsidies that the oil industry receives every year. And in the weeks and months ahead, the President will continue to finding ways to invest in clean energy technologies and innovation.

Want more details about the President’s blueprint? Here’s everything you need to know.

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (222MB) | mp3 (21MB)


Remarks by the President on Energy

University of Miami
Miami, Florida

2:26 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Miami!  (Applause.)  The U!   (Applause.)  It is good to see all of you here today.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Erica for that outstanding introduction.  She said her parents were tweeting.  (Laughter.)  We’re so proud of you, Erica.

I also want to thank your president, this country’s former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala.  (Applause.)  Senator Bill Nelson is here.  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Former astronaut — that’s too cool.  (Laughter.)  And my outstanding friend, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is in the house.  (Applause.)

It is good to be back in sunny Florida.  (Applause.)  I must say I don’t know how you guys go to class.  (Laughter.)  I’m assuming you do go to class.  (Laughter.)  It’s just too nice outside.  But in another life, I would be staying for the Knicks-Heat game tonight — (applause) — then go up to Orlando for NBA All-Star Weekend.  (Applause.)  But these days, I’ve got a few other things on my plate.  (Laughter.)  Just a few.

I just got a fascinating demonstration of the work that some of you are doing at the College of Engineering.  (Applause.)  And let me say at the outset, we need more engineers.  So I could not be prouder of those of you who are studying engineering.

It was fascinating stuff.  I understood about 10 percent of what they told me.  (Laughter.)  But it was very impressive.  (Laughter.)  And the work couldn’t be more important, because what they were doing was figuring out how our buildings, our manufacturers, our businesses can waste less energy.  And that’s one of the fastest, easiest ways to reduce our dependence on oil, and save a lot of money in the process and make our economy stronger.

So some cutting-edge stuff is being done right here at the U.  (Applause.)  Now, that’s what I’m here to talk about today.  In the State of the Union, I laid out three areas where we need to focus if we want to build an economy that lasts and is good for the next generation, all of you.  (Applause.)  We need new American manufacturing.  We’ve got to have new skills and education for America’s workers, and we need new sources of American-made energy.

Now, right now we are experiencing just another painful reminder of why developing new energy is so critical to our future.  Just like last year, gas prices are climbing across the country.  This time, it’s happening even earlier.  And when gas prices go up, it hurts everybody — everybody who owns a car, everybody who owns a business.  It means you’ve got to stretch a paycheck even further.  It means you’ve got to find even more room in a budget that was already really tight.  And some folks have no choice but to drive a long way to work, and high gas prices are like a tax straight out of your paycheck.

I got a letter last night — I get these letters, 10 letters every night that I read out of the 40,000 that are sent to me.  And at least two of them said, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to keep my job if gas prices keep on going up so high, because it’s just hard to manage the budget and fill up the tank.  A lot of folks are going through tough times as a consequence.

Now, some politicians they see this as a political opportunity.  I know you’re shocked by that.  (Laughter.)  Last week, the lead story in one newspaper said, “Gasoline prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops.”  (Laughter.)  That’s a quote.  That was the lead.  “Licking their chops.”  Only in politics do people root for bad news, do they greet bad news so enthusiastically.  You pay more; they’re licking their chops.

You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their 3-point plan for $2 gas.  And I’ll save you the suspense.  Step one is to drill and step two is to drill. And then step three is to keep drilling.  (Laughter.)  We heard the same line in 2007 when I was running for President.  We hear the same thing every year.  We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years.

Well, the American people aren’t stupid.  They know that’s not a plan, especially since we’re already drilling.  That’s a bumper sticker.  It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge.  (Applause.)  That’s a strategy to get politicians through an election.

You know there are no quick fixes to this problem.  You know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.  If we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year — when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world — if we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.  Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more. (Applause.)

We need to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks, less energy for our buildings and our plants and our factories — that’s the strategy we’re pursuing.  And that’s the only real solution to this challenge.

Now, it starts with the need for safe, responsible oil production here in America.  We’re not going to transition out of oil anytime soon.  And that’s why under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  That’s why we have a record number of oilrigs operating right now — more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined.

Over the last three years my administration has approved dozens of new pipelines, including from Canada.  And we’ve opened millions of acres for oil and gas exploration.  All told we plan to make available more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico.

Last week, we announced the next steps towards further energy exploration in the Arctic.  Earlier this week, we joined Mexico in an agreement that will make more than 1.5 million acres in the Gulf available for exploration and production, which contains an estimated 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

So we’re focused on production.  That’s not the issue.  And we’ll keep on producing more homegrown energy.  But here’s the thing — it’s not enough.  The amount of oil that we drill at home doesn’t set the price of gas by itself.  The oil market is global; oil is bought and sold in a world market.  And just like last year, the single biggest thing that’s causing the price of oil to spike right now is instability in the Middle East -– this time around Iran.  When uncertainty increases, speculative trading on Wall Street increases, and that drives prices up even more.

So those are the biggest short-term factors at work here.
Over the long term, the biggest reason oil prices will probably keep going up is growing demand in countries like China and India and Brazil.  I want you to all think about this.  In five years, the number of cars on the road in China more than tripled — just in the last five years.  Nearly 10 million cars were added in China in 2010 alone — 10 million cars in one year in one country.  Think about how much oil that requires.  And as folks in China and India and Brazil, they aspire to buy a car just like Americans do, those numbers are only going to get bigger.

So what does this mean for us?  It means that anybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or just isn’t telling you the truth.  (Applause.)

And young people especially understand this, because I think — it’s interesting, when I talk to Malia and Sasha — you guys are so much more aware than I was of conserving our natural resources and thinking about the planet.  The United States consumes more than a fifth of the world’s oil — more than 20 percent of the world’s oil — just us.  We only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.  We consume 20; we’ve got 2.

And that means we can’t just rely on fossil fuels from the last century.  We can’t just allow ourselves to be held hostage to the ups and downs of the world oil market.  We’ve got to keep developing new sources of energy.  We’ve got to develop new technology that helps us use less energy, and use energy smarter. We’ve got to rely on American know-how and young engineers right here at the U who are focused on energy.  (Applause.)  That is our future.  And that’s exactly the path that my administration has been trying to take these past three years.

And we’re making progress.  That’s the good news.  In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50 percent for the first time in over a decade.  We were less reliant on foreign oil than we had been.  In 2011, the United States relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last 16 years.  That’s the good news.  And because of the investments we’ve made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled -– and thousands of American jobs have been created as a consequence.

We’re taking every possible action to develop, safely, a near hundred-year supply of natural gas in this country — something that experts believe will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.  We supported the first new nuclear power plant in three decades.  Our cooperation with the private sector has positioned this country to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries that will power the next generation of American cars — that use less oil; maybe don’t use any oil at all.

And after three decades of inaction, we put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in history for our cars and pickup trucks -– and the first standards ever for heavy-duty trucks.  And because we did this, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade.  That’s nearly double what they get today.  (Applause.)

Now, I remember what it was like being a student.  You guys probably have one of those old beaters.  Who knows what kind of mileage you guys get.  (Laughter.)  I can tell you some stories about the cars I had.  I bought one for $500.  (Applause.)  But by the middle of the next decade, you guys are going to be buying some new cars — hopefully sooner than that.  And that means you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week -– something that, over time, will save the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump.

And it means this country will reduce our oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day.  That’s not only good for your pocketbook, that’s good for the environment.  (Applause.)

All right, but here’s the thing — we’ve got to do more.  We’ve got to act even faster.  We have to keep investing in the development of every available source of American-made energy.  And this is a question of where our priorities are.  This is a choice that we face.

First of all, while there are no silver bullets short term when it comes to gas prices — and anybody who says otherwise isn’t telling the truth — I have directed my administration to look for every single area where we can make an impact and help consumers in the months ahead, from permitting to delivery bottlenecks to what’s going on in the oil markets.  We’re going to look at every single aspect of gas prices, because we know the burden that it’s putting on consumers.  And we will keep taking as many steps as we can in the coming weeks.

That’s short term.  But over the long term, an all-of-the-above energy strategy requires us having the right priorities.  We’ve got to have the right incentives in place.  I’ll give you an example.  Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars subsidize the oil industry every year — $4 billion.  They don’t need a subsidy.  They’re making near-record profits.  These are the same oil companies that have been making record profits off the money you spend at the pump for several years now.  How do they deserve another $4 billion from taxpayers and subsidies?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Preach it, Mr. President!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s outrageous.  It’s inexcusable.  (Applause.)  And every politician who’s been fighting to keep those subsidies in place should explain to the American people why the oil industry needs more of their money — especially at a time like this.  (Applause.)

I said this at the State of the Union — a century of subsidies to the oil companies is long enough.  (Applause.)  It’s time to end taxpayer giveaways to an industry that has never been more profitable; double down on clean energy industries that have never been more promising — that’s what we need to do.  (Applause.)  This Congress needs to renew the clean energy tax credits that will lead to more jobs and less dependence on foreign oil.

The potential of a sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy is all around us.  Here in Miami, 2008, Miami became the first major American city to power its city hall entirely with solar and renewable energy.  Right here in Miami.  (Applause.)  The modernization of your power grid so that it wastes less energy is one of the largest projects of its kind in the country. On a typical day, the wind turbine at the Miami-Dade Museum can meet about 10 percent of the energy needs in a South Florida home, and the largest wind producer in the country is over at Juno Beach.  Right here at this university, your work is helping manufacturers save millions of dollars in energy bills by making their facilities more energy efficient.  (Applause.)

So a lot of work is already being done right here, just in this area.  And the role of the federal government isn’t to supplant this work, take over this work, direct this research.  It is to support these discoveries.  Our job is to help outstanding work that’s being done in universities, in labs, and to help businesses get new energy ideas off the ground — because it was public dollars, public research dollars, that over the years helped develop the technologies that companies are right now using to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock.

The payoff on these public investments, they don’t always come right away, and some technologies don’t pan out, and some companies will fail.  But as long as I’m President, I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.  Your future is too important.  I will not — (applause) — I will not cede, I will not give up, I will not cede the wind or the solar or the battery industry to China or Germany because some politicians in Washington have refused to make the same commitment here in America.

With or without this Congress, I will continue to do whatever I can to develop every source of American energy so our future isn’t controlled by events on the other side of the world. (Applause.)

Today we’re taking a step that will make it easier for companies to save money by investing in energy solutions that have been proven here in the University of Miami — new lighting systems, advanced heating and cooling systems that can lower a company’s energy bills and make them more competitive.

We’re launching a program that will bring together the nation’s best scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs to figure out how more cars can be powered by natural gas, a fuel that’s cleaner and cheaper and more abundant than oil.  We’ve got more of that.  We don’t have to import it.  We may be exporting it soon.

We’re making new investments in the development of gasoline and diesel and jet fuel that’s actually made from a plant-like substance — algae.  You’ve got a bunch of algae out here, right? (Laughter.)  If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we’ll be doing all right.

Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in the United States.  And that means greater energy security.  That means lower costs.  It means more jobs.  It means a stronger economy.

Now, none of the steps that I’ve talked about today is going to be a silver bullet.  It’s not going to bring down gas prices tomorrow.  Remember, if anybody says they got a plan for that — what?

AUDIENCE:  They’re lying.

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m just saying.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to, overnight, solve the problem of world oil markets.  There is no silver bullet.  There never has been.

And part of the problem is, is when politicians pretend that there is, then we put off making the tough choices to develop new energy sources and become more energy efficient.  We got to stop doing that.  We don’t have the luxury of pretending.  We got to look at the facts, look at the science, figure out what we need to do.

We may not have a silver bullet, but we do have in this country limitless sources of energy, a boundless supply of ingenuity, huge imagination, amazing young people like you — (applause) — all of which can put — all of which we can put to work to develop this new energy source.

Now, it’s the easiest thing in the world to make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.  What’s harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem.  (Applause.)  And it won’t be solved in one year; it won’t be solved in one term; it may not be completely solved in one decade.  But that’s the kind of commitment we need right now.  That’s what this moment requires.

So I need all of you to keep at it.  I need you guys to work hard.  I need you guys to dream big.  I need those of you who are a lot smarter than me to figure out how we’re going to be able to tap into new energy sources.  We’ve got to summon the spirit of optimism and that willingness to tackle tough problems that led previous generations to meet the challenges of their times -– to power a nation from coast to coast, to send a man to the moon, to connect an entire world with our own science and our own imagination.

That’s what America is capable of.  That’s what this country is about.  And that history teaches us that whatever our challenges -– all of them -– whatever, whatever we face, we always have the power to solve them.

This is going to be one of the major challenges for your generation.  Solving it is going to take time; it’s going to take effort.  It’s going to require our brightest scientists, our most creative companies.  But it’s going to also require all of us as citizens — Democrats, Republicans, everybody in between –- all of us are going to have to do our part.

If we do, the solution is within our reach.  And I know we can do it.  We have done it before.  And when we do, we will remind the world once again just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

2:49 P.M. EST

Political Buzz September 2, 2011: President Barack Obama Tells EPA to Withdraw Proposed Smog, Ozone Standards


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.



Obama tells EPA to withdraw proposed smog standards: President Obama pulled back proposed new national smog standards on Friday, overruling the Environmental Protection Agency in its efforts to compel states and communities to reduce air pollution. The move represents a win for the business community, which had lobbied to postpone the new restrictions until 2013 in light of the current economic downturn.

“But it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stopping Washington Democrats’ agenda of tax hikes, more government ‘stimulus’ spending, and increased regulations, which are all making it harder to create more American jobs.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner spokesman Michael Steel

“The president’s decision is good news for the economy and Americans looking for work. EPA’s proposal would have prevented the very job creation that President Obama has identified as his top priority.” — Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute

  • Obama to drop smog initiative, GOP claims win: US President Barack Obama unexpectedly asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday to withdraw a plan to limit smog pollution, handing a big win to business and Republicans who have argued … – Reuters, 9-2-11
  • Obama overrules EPA, scraps plan to tighten smog rules: President Barack Obama on Friday scrapped his administration’s controversial plans to tighten smog rules, bowing to the demands of congressional Republicans and some business leaders. … – AP, 9-2-11
  • Obama asks EPA to back off draft ozone standard: President Obama Friday asked the Environmental Protection Agency to drop the development of controversial rules to cut smog levels, pleasing the business community but upsetting environmentalists.
    The business community and the Republican Party have loudly decried the possibility of more stringent rules on ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, as job-killers.
    But to Obama’s environmental base, the decision to back down from the ozone rules was the latest in a string of decisions and signals that suggest to them that the administration is backing away from key anti-pollution initiatives before the 2012 election to court business and anti-regulation voters…. – LAT, 9-2-11
  • White House backs down on ozone rule: President Barack Obama announced Friday that his administration has abandoned its plans to set tougher smog standards after coming under fierce pressure from industry and congressional Republicans…. – Politico, 9-2-11
  • Obama backs off tough clean air regulation: President suspends a new ozone requirment after fierce criticism from Republican lawmakers — and after the economy posts zero new jobs in August…. – CNN, 9-2-11
  • Obama Asks EPA to Withdraw Proposed Ozone Rule: President Barack Obama, citing the nation’s struggling economy, asked the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw an air quality rule that Republicans and business groups have said could cost tens … – WSJ, 9-2-11
  • Obama directs EPA to withdraw controversial proposed regulation on smog standards: President Barack Obama is directing his administration to withdraw a controversial proposed regulation updating government smog standards. The withdrawal comes two days after the White House identified seven proposed regulations…. – AP, WaPo, 9-2-11
  • Obama pulls back proposed smog standards, in victory for business: President Obama abruptly pulled back proposed new national smog standards Friday morning, overruling the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to compel states and communities nationwide to reduce local air pollution…. – WaPo, 9-2-11
  • Obama Withdraws Environmental Rules, Citing Business Burden: President Obama told the EPA today to withdraw proposed air quality legislation, citing the need to reduce regulatory burdens on businesses as the economy continues to recover…. – ABC News, 9-2-11
  • Obama Withdraws Proposed Regulation On Smog: Saying that “reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover” prompted his administration to rethink, President Obama just announced that he’s withdrawing proposed regulations … – NPR, 9-2-11
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