Friday, April 01, 2011

President Continues To Talk About Energy Independence Issues

Apr 1: At a speech to UPS workers, President Obama continued talking about energy issues and making the country less dependent on foreign oil imports. He announced the National Clean Fleets Partnership and reemphasized the goal of reducing oil imports by one-third by 2025 [See WIMS 3/30/11].
    The President also talked about the improving economy as evidenced from the latest jobs report and the potential negative impacts of a government-wide shut down due to a breakdown in budget negotiations. He reminded that there must be budget compromises on both sides; but, he also said we cannot stop investing in energy research, projects and technology that will lead to energy independence. The President indicated that House, Senate and Administration negotiators had come close to agreeing on a "number" for FY 2011 budget reductions (generally thought to be between $30-$33 billion); however, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said, "Democrats are rooting for a government shutdown. . . There's no agreement on numbers, and nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to. We control one-half of one-third of the government here, but we're going to continue to fight for the largest spending cuts that we can get to keep the government open and funded through the balance of this fiscal year."
    On the National Clean Fleets Partnership the Administration is calling for a public-private partnership to help large companies reduce diesel and gasoline use in their fleets by incorporating electric vehicles, alternative fuels, and fuel-saving measures into their daily operations. Through the Partnership, the Department of Energy (DOE) will assist companies in their efforts to reduce fuel use and achieve greater efficiency and cost-savings by offering specialized resources, technical expertise, and support. The partnership is part of the DOE Vehicle Technology Program's "Clean Cities" initiative.
    The President and the Partnership announced the commitments of five of its charter members: AT&T, FedEx, PepsiCo, UPS and Verizon. The charter members represent five of the nation's 10 largest national fleets and collectively own and operate more than 275,000 vehicles. Their planned current and near-term petroleum reduction strategies will account for the deployment of over 20,000 advanced technology vehicles and annual petroleum displacement in excess of 7 million gallons. DOE is challenging other companies to join this important effort.
    According to a White House fact sheet, large commercial fleets are heavily dependent on petroleum-based fuels (gasoline and diesel) to deliver their goods and services every day. In 2009, there were more than 3 million commercial fleet vehicles on the road, consuming nearly 4 billion gallons of fuel. Fleets, which are typically centrally managed and comprised of a large number of vehicles, offer significant opportunities to reduce fuel use and carbon pollution.
    Through the National Clean Fleets Partnership, DOE will help companies: reduce fuel use through the use of more efficient vehicles and technologies, including hybrids; and replace conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles with advanced technology vehicles or ones that use alternative fuels, such as electricity, natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, or propane. Partners will benefit from participation including: Opportunities for collaboration with DOE and their peers; and DOE technical tools and resources. DOE indicated it has developed a wide range of technical tools to help partner companies navigate the world of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles. A diverse collection of cost calculators, interactive maps, customizable database searches, and mobile applications puts vital information and analysis at fleets' fingertips. The DOE initiative will compliment U.S. EPA's Smartway Transport partnership program with the freight industry by furthering efforts to improve efficiency in goods movement and reducing our dependency on foreign oil.
   Additionally, since the President delivered his energy speech at Georgetown University on March 30, the White House has released a 44-page Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future. The Blueprint outlines a three-part strategy:
  • "Develop and Secure America's Energy Supplies: We need to deploy American assets, innovation, and technology so that we can safely and responsibly develop more energy here at home and be a leader in the global energy economy.
  • "Provide Consumers With Choices to Reduce Costs and Save Energy: Volatile gasoline prices reinforce the need for innovation that will make it easier and more affordable for consumers to buy more advanced and fuel-efficient vehicles, use alternative means of transportation, weatherize their homes and workplaces, and in doing so, save money and protect the environment. These measures help families' pocketbooks, reduce our dependence on finite energy sources and help create jobs here in the United States.
  • "Innovate our Way to a Clean Energy Future: Leading the world in clean energy is critical to strengthening the American economy and winning the future. We can get there by creating markets for innovative clean technologies that are ready to deploy, and by funding cutting-edge research to produce the next generation of technologies. And as new, better, and more efficient technologies hit the market, the Federal government needs to put words into action and lead by example.
    Access Speaker Boehner's comments on budget negotiations (click here); and (click here). Access the full text of the President's UPS speech (click here). Access the White House fact sheet on the National Clean Fleets Partnership (click here). Access the 44-page Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future (click here). Access a White House blog post on Helping American Families Make Good Choices and Cut Energy Bills (click here). Access various interest group reactions to the President's energy plan (click here).
  • Senators Introduce Bipartisan Plan For Energy Security By 2030
  • House Science Committee Hearing On Climate Change 
  • House Passes Bill To Avoid CWA-FIFRA Duplicate Permitting
  • Senate Vote On Amendment To Stop EPA GHG Regs Delayed
  • Rep. Upton House Committee Launches Yucca Mountain Investigation
  • Senate EPW Subcommittee Hearing On Army Corps FY12 Budget