The Washington Post

Obama’s 2012 State of the Union: Energy, environment

President Obama sought middle ground on energy and environmental issues Tuesday night, calling for an “all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy” and outlining a handful of initiatives he said would enable the United States to tap fossil fuel reserves as well as wind and solar power.

He called for greater disclosure of what chemicals firms use to extract natural gas from federal land and a commitment by the Defense Department to purchase 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy.

But many of his proposals amounted to a reprise of past administration pledges, such as a long-standing Interior Department commitment to permit 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy projects on public land this year.

Obama called again on Congress to pass a ”clean energy standard” that would require electric utilities to obtain 80 percent of their power from natural gas, nuclear and renewable sources by 2035, and a permanent extension of a federal production tax credit for wind power.

Obama noted that U.S. oil production is at its highest level in eight years and reliance on foreign oil is the lowest in 16 years.

He also argued that renewable energy deserves the same federal support fossil fuels have received: “Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.”

Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's White House bureau chief, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.

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