washingtonpost.com
The Obama Presidency

Thursday, May 28, 2009

ON THE ROAD

President Lauds Energy Progress

President Obama touted his plans for clean energy and economic stimulus Wednesday at an Air Force base near Las Vegas, pointing to the base's vast array of solar panels as a model for the nation as it seeks to reduce its dependence on foreign oil.

Obama, visiting Nellis Air Force Base between fundraising events in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, toured the largest solar power plant of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, a collection of more than 72,000 panels built on 140 acres, including part of an old landfill. The plant, a public-private venture that cost $100 million, generates about a quarter of the electricity used on the base, where 12,000 people live and work.

The president said the project created 200 jobs and will save the Air Force nearly $1 million a year while reducing carbon pollution by 24,000 tons a year -- the equivalent of removing 4,000 cars from U.S. roads.

He also announced stimulus funding for two renewable-energy projects.

"The first is a solar energy technologies program that will help replicate the success of the Nellis project in cities and states across America," Obama said.

The second program, he said, will help develop geothermal energy across the country, building on the technology's success in Nevada.

Obama also applauded the results so far of his $787 billion stimulus package, which includes about $476 million for expanding and accelerating the development of solar and geothermal energy.

Citing an administration report released Wednesday that details stimulus spending and its effects across the country, he said the package has already saved or created nearly 150,000 jobs.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele disputed Obama's progress report, which he dismissed as a public relations gambit.

"One hundred days after spending $787 billion of the taxpayers' money, President Obama is touting a second progress 'report' on the stimulus bill to convince voters his reckless spending plan is working," Steele said in a statement. "Let's be clear: 100 projects, nearly $1 trillion spent and 1 million jobs lost doesn't sound like progress to me."

-- William Branigin

LONDON, PARIS . . .

Ambassadors Named For Major Posts

The White House announced a slate of top diplomats to fill many of the highest-profile jobs in the Foreign Service.

For his ambassador to Britain, President Obama turned to Louis B. Susman, a retired vice chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking.

Obama chose Charles Rivkin, an outside homeland security adviser and former financial analyst, as ambassador to France.

He picked Internet and biotechnology lawyer John Roos as the top diplomat to Japan.

He nominated former congressman Timothy J. Roemer of Indiana to be his ambassador to India.

And he tapped Miguel H. Diaz, a Cuban American and an associate professor of theology at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn., for the top job at the Vatican.

The posts all require Senate confirmation.

-- Associated Press

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company