Monday, March 12, 2012

Update On President's Blueprint For A Secure Energy Future

Mar 12: The President received a one-year progress report on his "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future" [See WIMS 3/30/11]. A White House release indicates that the original Blueprint outlined the Administration's all-of-the-above approach to American energy -- a strategy aimed at reducing reliance on foreign oil, saving families and businesses money at the pump, and positioning the United States as the global leader in clean energy.
    In a statement from the President, he indicated, "The progress report I received today from members of my administration underscores the headway our nation has made towards reducing our reliance on foreign oil, while also expanding American made energy. As the report highlights, we have made progress, with imports of foreign oil decreasing by a million barrels a day in the last year alone. Our focus on increased domestic oil and gas production, currently at an eight year high, combined with the historic fuel economy standards we put in place, means that we will continue to reduce our nation's vulnerability to the ups and downs of the global oil market. We've also made progress in the expansion of clean energy, with renewable energy from sources like wind and solar on track to double, along with the construction of our first advanced biofuel refineries. And yet, despite the gains we've made, today's high gas prices are a painful reminder that there's much more work to do [to] free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil and take control of our energy future. And that's exactly what our administration is committed to doing in the months ahead."
    The White House highlighted the following as the major accomplishments:
  • "Increasing American Energy Independence: A year ago, the President set a bold but achievable goal of reducing oil imports by a third in a little over a decade, relative to where they were when he ran for office. Thanks to booming U.S. oil and gas production, more efficient cars and trucks, and a world-class refining sector that last year was a net exporter for the first time in sixty years, we have already cut net imports by ten percent – or a million barrels a day – in the last year alone. And with the new fuel economy standards the President announced last year, we are on pace to meet our goal by the end of the decade.
  • "Expanding Domestic Oil and Gas Production: Domestic oil and natural gas production has increased every year President Obama has been in office. In 2011, American oil production reached the highest level in nearly a decade and natural gas production reached an all-time high.
  • "Setting Historic New Fuel Economy Standards: The Obama Administration has put in place the first-ever fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks, and proposed the toughest fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles in U.S. history, requiring an average performance equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Over time, these new standards will save consumers more than $8,000 in lower fuel costs.
  • "Improving Energy Efficiency in 1 Million Homes: Since October 2009, the Department of Energy and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have completed energy upgrades in more than one million homes across the country. For many families, these upgrades save over $400 on their heating and cooling bills in the first year alone.
  • Doubling Renewable Energy Generation: Thanks in part to the Obama Administration's investment in clean energy – the largest in American history – the United States has nearly doubled renewable energy generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources since 2008.
  • "Developing Advanced, Alternative Fuels: In 2010, President Obama set a goal of breaking ground on at least four commercial scale cellulosic or advanced biorefineries by 2013. That goal has been accomplished, one year ahead of schedule. Together, these projects, and associated demonstration and pilot projects will produce a combined total of nearly 100 million gallons per year of advanced biofuels capacity.
  • "Supporting Cutting-Edge Research: The Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), which the Obama Administration funded for the first-time ever in 2009, has supported more than 120 individual projects aimed at achieving new and transformational energy breakthroughs."

    The White House indicated, "Today, we are experiencing yet another painful reminder of why developing new American energy is so critical to our future. Just like last year, gas prices are climbing across the country -- except this time, even earlier. While there are no silver bullets to solve these challenges, the Obama Administration will continue to build on the progress we've made over the past three years. Through a sustained, all-of-the-above approach to American energy we'll work to restore middle class security, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create an economy that's built to last."

    In response to the Blueprint update report, the office of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) indicated in a blog posting, "As is typically the case when its policies are under fire. . . the Obama White House is doubling down on its marketing efforts. Today the president will try 'selling his energy successes,' a head-scratcher of move that will certainly come as a surprise to families, nonprofit organizations, and small business owners struggling with the pain at the pump.

    "The White House is also releasing a new 'report' that 'doesn't offer much new,' just again attempts to take credit for increased domestic energy production, a claim that has been thoroughly debunked by independent voices. No amount of misleading talking points can hide the president's record of consistently blocking American energy production, including 'personally lobbying' members of Congress just days ago to block a Keystone XL pipeline jobs amendment in the Senate [See WIMS 3/9/12]. With the pain at the pump showing no sign of letup, Americans are looking for solutions -- not excuses -- and Republicans are delivering with a real 'all-of-the' above energy policy as part of a pro-growth jobs plan."

    Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a statement on the President's Blueprint saying, "Today's release by the Obama administration of its progress report for securing America's energy future shows that the President has put in place an 'All of the Above' American energy plan that has put us on a path to freeing our nation from the grip of the OPEC oil cartel. Increased domestic oil and gas production, historic new fuel economy standards, coupled with expanded renewable energy generation and improved energy efficiency represents a vision that strikes fear in hearts of the OPEC oil cartel and the Big Oil companies who want to keep us addicted to high-priced oil.
    "In contrast, Republican leaders in Washington are pursuing an 'Oil Above All' scheme that preserves $4 billion in annual tax breaks for the Big Oil companies, slashes funding for solar, wind and other renewable energy, and promotes exports of oil and natural gas from the U.S. to foreign countries -- all at the expense of higher prices for American consumers. The GOP energy strategy is to drill here in America, export our oil and gas abroad, and force Americans to pay more for gasoline, home heating oil, and natural gas."

    Access a release from the White House (click here). Access the President's statement (click here). Access the complete 20-page Blueprint update report (click here). Access the original Blueprint announcement and link to the President's speech and the 44-page report (click here). Access the blog posting from Speaker Boehner's office (click here). Access the statement from Rep. Markey (click here). [#Energy]

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