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Obama says he is serious about energy independence


In a speech at the Department of Energy yesterday Barack Obama said he and the American people is serious about energy independence. Obama also said his proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan “will begin to end the tyranny of oil in our time.”

In the speech Obama said the renewable energy industry “will create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next few years” and “millions more after that”. Obama said he will invest in a “better, smarter electricity grid” that can deliver clean renewable electricity from one end of the country to another. Obama also said he will “lead a revolution in energy efficiency” saying it will create jobs and save taxpayers $2 billion each year and “billions of dollars more on their utility bills”. He said his investments in the US mass transit system will be “a significant down payment on a cleaner and more independent energy future.”

Obama also criticized the Republicans who have spoken out against his American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan:

“Now, I read the other day that the critics of this plan ridiculed our notion that we should use part of the money to modernize the entire fleet of federal vehicles to take advantage of state of the art fuel-efficiency. They call it pork. You know the truth. It will not only save the government significant money over time, it will not only create jobs manufacturing those vehicles, it will set a standard for private industry to match. And so when you hear these attacks deriding something of such obvious importance as this, you have to ask yourself – is it any wonder we haven’t had a real energy policy in this country?”

He also lashed out against the Republicans economic policies saying their “ideas have been tested, and they have failed”:

In the last few days, we've seen proposals arise from some in Congress that you may not have read but you'd be very familiar with because you've been hearing them for the last 10 years, maybe longer. They're rooted in the idea that tax cuts alone can solve all our problems; that government doesn't have a role to play; that half-measures and tinkering are somehow enough; that we can afford to ignore our most fundamental economic challenges -- the crushing cost of health care, the inadequate state of so many of our schools, our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.

So let me be clear: Those ideas have been tested, and they have failed. They've taken us from surpluses to an annual deficit of over a trillion dollars, and they've brought our economy to a halt. And that's precisely what the election we just had was all about. The American people have rendered their judgment. And now is the time to move forward, not back. Now is the time for action.

You can read the full transcript of the speech here.

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Let's just hope Obama can drive this plan through. He faces serious obstacles, even with a Democratic congress, because the oil and coal companies and states that depend on them for jobs have such an influence on how congress people vote. At least we now have a president in the US who is articulate and intelligent and gutsy enough to push for this, argue convincingly against the naysayers, and show the American people the challenge we face and the opportunity it presents.

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