Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Ultimate Solution

If President Obama is going to keep hammering on the clean energy theme, well then by golly I'm going to help him.

From the transcript:

The clean energy jobs at this plant are the jobs of the future – jobs that pay well right here in America. And in the years ahead, it’s clean energy companies like this one that will keep our economy growing, create new jobs, and make sure America remains the most prosperous nation in the world.

Allison Transmissions is also part of the ultimate solution to high gas prices. We know there are no quick fixes to this problem. In the short term, we’re doing everything we can to boost safe and responsible oil production here at home – in fact, last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003.

But over the long term, the only way we can avoid being held hostage to the ups and downs of oil prices is if we reduce our dependence on oil. That means investing in clean, alternative sources of energy, like advanced biofuels and natural gas. And that means making cars and trucks and buses that use less oil.

Other countries know this, and they’re going all in to invest in clean energy technologies and clean energy jobs. But I don’t want other countries to win the competition for these technologies and these jobs. I want America to win that competition. I want America to win the future.

Now, I know that in a difficult fiscal climate like the one we’re in, it’s tempting for some to try and cut back our investments in clean energy. And I absolutely agree that the only way we’ll be able to afford the things we need is by cutting the things we don’t and living within our means. But I refuse to cut investments like clean energy that will help us out-innovate and out-compete the rest of the world. I refuse to cut investments that are making it possible for plants like this one to grow and add jobs across America.

We can do this. I don’t just believe that because I see it happening in plants like this. I believe that because I believe in the Americans making it happen in places like this. I’m optimistic about our economic future, because for all the challenges we face, America is still home to the most entrepreneurial, most industrious, most determined people on Earth. There’s nothing we can’t accomplish when we set our minds to it. And that’s what we’ll keep doing as long as I have the privilege of being your President.

I'm glad to hear that he will refuse cuts to clean energy investment, but I do worry about the other cuts that they are going to make. I hope that the White House keeps in mind that we are getting slammed out here in the states with Republican governors slashing the very foundations of our existence; education, health care, infrastructure repairs, you name it - if it serves the people of the country, they are cutting it. I have no doubt that we will survive this (hopefully short) time of destruction, but it's important to remember that we have to invest in our people as well. What good are the "jobs of the future" if the kids can't get a decent education today?

One other note about clean energy, natural gas, fracking, and the Republican resistance to any sort of progress. Late Thursday, the Department of Energy announced a new study group that has 90 days to come up with a safer way to get that natural gas out of the ground...

Secretary Chu, a Nobel laureate in physics, said that he was acting at the direction of President Obama, who outlined a new energy strategy last month that calls for more domestic oil and gas production but also new rules to make the business safer. Hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as fracking, uses high-pressure injection of fluids into underground shale formations to unleash natural gas pockets.

The technique, which has been in limited use for decades, is expected to significantly increase recovery of domestic gas supplies and keep prices moderate for years.

But the practice also pours millions of gallons of dangerous chemicals into the ground and into wastewater treatment systems, which in some cases cannot remove all the potential toxins. There are also numerous documented cases of fracking fluids’ leaking into underground aquifers that provide drinking water.

Dr. Chu named seven members to the study group and gave them 90 days to come up with immediate recommendations to improve the safety of fracking and six months to provide consensus advice to state and federal regulatory agencies to ensure protection of public health and the environment.

... and if they can figure out a way to obtain it that doesn't result in the ability to set your drinking water on fire, then let's do it. But as you can probably predict by now, the Republicans immediately threw a massive childish hissy fit about the thought of keeping our environment clean, and introduced legislation to dismantle both the EPA and the Department of Energy.

It's obvious that we can count on pure obstruction to the point of being totally irrational from here on out. "Just Say No" has turned into "Just Say Destroy", with repeated attempts to tear down every single federal department that exists today. If the Republicans were a group of people from another country, you would swear that they have declared war on the American people. I can't think of a single thing about us they don't want to eliminate. Can you?

Are they serious about it? Not really, but it will make progress that much harder.

Hope that the White House can work around this nonsense, and keep pushing forward on the energy front. It's going to be very difficult when we have to play defense all the time, but if we are lucky - and smart - we will rectify that situation in 2012.