On June 15, 2010, President Obama gave an Oval Office speech on the BP oil spill. The President used the devastating effects of the spill as an impetus to call on the country to transition towards energy independence and the use of “clean energy.” How the BP oil spill and President Obama’s speech will affect energy legislation however, is still unknown (see June 1, 2010 edition of the WER).
While the President called for legislation reducing the nation’s use of fossil fuel, he avoided specific endorsements of current legislation such as the Kerry-Lieberman bill or of cap-and-trade legislation. Instead, he noted that several different approaches – including raising efficiency standards in buildings, adopting renewable energy standards, and having the energy industry invest more money in research and development – “have merit and deserve a fair hearing in the months ahead.” The President also stated that he is open to additional ideas from both democrats and republicans alike, so long as they address America’s addiction to fossil fuels. President Obama added that “the one approach I will not accept is inaction.”
President Obama also applauded the House of Representatives for passing “The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009” last summer, a comprehensive energy and climate bill introduced by Congressman Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) of the Energy and Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA) of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee. Meanwhile the Senate, which has not voted on a comparable energy bill yet, may chose to move forward with one or several pieces of various energy bills that have been previously introduced. This includes:
- “The American Power Act,” introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT);
- “The American Clean Energy Leadership Act,” introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM);
- “The Practical Energy and Climate Plan,” introduced by Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN);
- “Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal (Clear) Act,” introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME); and
- “The National Energy Security Act of 2009,” introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND).
The full transcript of President Obama’s address can be found at the White House’s website at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-nation-bp-oil-spill.