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A look at how energy was discussed during the State of the Union Address

Blog Post created by katie.mehnert Champion on Jan 19, 2016

San Antonio Business Journal, Sergio Chapa

 

President Barack Obama delivered his last State of the Union Address on Tuesday evening officially marking the last year of his final term in the White House.

Obama spoke on a wide range of issues but spoke with pride about changes to the energy sector during his first seven years in office.

 

Touting a boom in the renewables sector as one of his accomplishments, Obama stated that the solar power industry now employs more people than the coal industry.

 

Obama mentioned Texas when it came to wind power, which he said is now cheaper than fossil fuel-based power sources.

The president said imports of foreign oil fell by 60 percent under his administration and that the United States cut its carbon pollution more than any other nation.

 

"Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either," Obama added.

But not everyone agrees with the administration's policies on reducing pollution. Last year, natural gas producers called the Obama administration's cuts to methane emissions in the oil and gas sector "unnecessary" and "counterproductive." Texas Railroad Commission Chairman David Porter memorably called the cuts a "war on fossil fuels."

 

In total, Obama mentioned "energy" seven times during the State of the Union Address while "oil" and "climate change" each got four mentions. Below is a compilation of quotes using the words energy, oil and climate change.

 


 

ENERGY:

"In fact, it’s that spirit that made the progress of these past seven years possible. It’s how we recovered from the worst economic crisis in generations. It’s how we reformed our health care system, and reinvented our energy sector; how we delivered more care and benefits to our troops and veterans, and how we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love."

 

"Medical research is critical. We need the same level of commitment when it comes to developing clean energy sources."

 

"But even if the planet wasn’t at stake; even if 2014 wasn’t the warmest year on record — until 2015 turned out even hotter — why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?"

 

"Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results. In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energybills, and employs more Americans than coal — in jobs that pay better than average. We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy— something environmentalists and Tea Partiers have teamed up to support."

 

"Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future — especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet. That way, we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system."

 


 

OIL:

"I believe a thriving private sector is the lifeblood of our economy. I think there are outdated regulations that need to be changed, and there’s red tape that needs to be cut. But after years of record corporate profits, working families won’t get more opportunity or bigger paychecks by letting big banks or big oil or hedge funds make their own rules at the expense of everyone else; or by allowing attacks on collective bargaining to go unanswered."

 

"Meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly sixty percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth."

 

"That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet."

 

"That’s exactly what we are doing. For more than a year, America has led a coalition of more than 60 countries to cut off ISIL’s financing, disrupt their plots, stop the flow of terrorist fighters, and stamp out their vicious ideology. With nearly 10,000 air strikes, we are taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, and their weapons. We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria."

 


 

CLIMATE CHANGE:

"Second, how do we make technology work for us, and not against us — especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?"

"Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it."

 

"Climate change is just one of many issues where our security is linked to the rest of the world. And that’s why the third big question we have to answer is how to keep America safe and strong without either isolating ourselves or trying to nation-build everywhere there’s a problem."

 

"American leadership in the 21st century is not a choice between ignoring the rest of the world — except when we kill terrorists; or occupying and rebuilding whatever society is unraveling. Leadership means a wise application of military power, and rallying the world behind causes that are right. It means seeing our foreign assistance as part of our national security, not charity. When we lead nearly 200 nations to the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change— that helps vulnerable countries, but it also protects our children. When we help Ukraine defend its democracy, or Colombia resolve a decades-long war, that strengthens the international order we depend upon. When we help African countries feed their people and care for the sick, that prevents the next pandemic from reaching our shores. Right now, we are on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS, and we have the capacity to accomplish the same thing with malaria — something I’ll be pushing this Congress to fund this year."

 

Sergio Chapa covers the energy industry for the newspaper.

Picture:  President Barack Obama addressing Congress during his final State of the Union Address (Source: WHITE HOUSE)

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