Following a brief delay for snowmageddon, President Obama visited the Keystone State today to continue his laser-like focus on jobs and the economy. The subject of his planned remarks? Making buildings more efficient through “green energy initiatives” funded by… you guessed it. You.
Obama will announce a plan to improve energy efficiency in U.S. commercial buildings by offering businesses incentives to help pay for clean energy upgrades of offices, stores and other buildings.
Obama’s push for the United States to build a green economy is part of a global race to dominate what is seen as a potentially huge industry in solar, wind and other alternative energies that offer wealth and energy independence.
If one wants to give a speech on energy and jobs, there is probably no more ironic location to select than Pennsylvania. In Oil and Gas Journal this week, API policy adviser Stephanie Meadows explains the not terribly funny humor in this.
Meadows said that API’s release of the latest fracing guidance document was timely since US President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit Pennsylvania on Feb. 3 to discuss economic recovery and job creation measures.
“While he’s there, he will be standing on top of the second-largest natural gas formation in the world, the Marcellus Shale, which potentially could supply significant amounts of gas, produce new revenue for states and communities, and provide a major number of new jobs,” she said. “We call on the president to lend the full weight of his office to development of this resource in New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.”
Despite the huge energy reserves and potential for significant job growth and industry investment, residents of both New York and Pennsylvania have been dealing with a series of threatened drilling moratoriums, government red tape and lawsuits from environmental groups. Even where the moratoriums have failed or been lifted, endless delays continue and the EPA has dragged its feet in response to landowners’ efforts to begin production while Democrats in Congress work to terminate any discussion of it.
And how was the President’s message received? Pretty well if you don’t understand the current crisis in energy policy.
Mr. Obama acknowledged that the tax credits he wants to provide would drain money from the Treasury. He received his largest applause when he reiterated his call for Congress to eliminate tax breaks for oil companies.
For the president to stand atop one of the world’s largest – and still largely untapped – supplies of natural gas and talk about the need for energy, jobs and efficiency is a bit of irony which will not leave many people laughing. Let’s hope he listens to the locals and pushes the EPA to actually do something productive for both our energy policy and employment prospects which could be accomplished right now.
But the trip wasn’t a total loss. He managed to get in a plug for the Steelers.