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President Obama took a break this morning from discussing the sequester in his weekly address and instead pitched his new Energy Security Trust to listeners, an endeavor he first announced yesterday when he toured the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

First, he pointed out progress:

We produce more oil than we have in 15 years. We import less oil than we have in 20 years. We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We’re producing more natural gas than ever before – with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We’ve supported the first new nuclear power plant since the 1970s. And we’re sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years.
But, he said, gas prices have risen in recent weeks and we clearly there are more steps that need to be taken. Yes, auto efficiency standards are in place now that weren't in the past, and this too is progress. "But," he told listeners, "the only way we’re going to break this cycle of spiking gas prices for good is to shift our cars and trucks off of oil for good." And that's where the Energy Security Trust, first announced in his State of the Union address, comes in:
Here’s how it would work. Much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So I’m proposing that we take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public, so that we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit. We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; developing cheaper batteries that go farther on a single charge; and devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy – like advanced biofuels and natural gas – so drivers can one day go coast-to-coast without using a drop of oil.
In an obvious effort to forestall objections from the right, he made a quick disclaimer: Hey, it's not my idea! It's the idea of CEO's and big business!
Now, this idea isn’t mine. It’s actually built off a proposal put forward by a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals. So let’s take their advice and free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas prices once and for all.
Exploring and investing in new energy alternatives is crucial, he said, but can be carried on while we continue an "all-of-the-above energy strategy"—continuing use of domestic fossil fuels while transitioning to alternatives.

To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Lemont, Illinois
March 16, 2013

Hi, everybody. As a nation, our top priority is growing our economy and creating good middle class jobs. That’s why this week I’m speaking to you from the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, because few areas hold as much promise as what they’re focused on right here – harnessing American energy.

You see, after years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future. We produce more oil than we have in 15 years. We import less oil than we have in 20 years. We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We’re producing more natural gas than ever before – with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We’ve supported the first new nuclear power plant since the 1970s. And we’re sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years.

So we’re making real progress. But over the past few weeks, we got a reminder that we need to do more. We went through another spike in gas prices, just like last year, and the year before that. It happens every year. It’s a serious blow to your budget – like getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket.

Over the past four years, as part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, we’ve taken steps to soften that blow by making sure our cars use less gas. We’ve put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in our history so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. Over the life of a new car, the average family will save more than $8,000 at the pump.

But the only way we’re going to break this cycle of spiking gas prices for good is to shift our cars and trucks off of oil for good. That’s why, in my State of the Union Address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal.

Here’s how it would work. Much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So I’m proposing that we take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public, so that we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit. We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; developing cheaper batteries that go farther on a single charge; and devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy – like advanced biofuels and natural gas – so drivers can one day go coast-to-coast without using a drop of oil.

Now, this idea isn’t mine. It’s actually built off a proposal put forward by a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals. So let’s take their advice and free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas prices once and for all.  

And in the meantime, let’s keep moving forward on an all-of-the-above energy strategy. A strategy where we produce more oil and gas here at home, but also more biofuels and fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power and wind power. A strategy where we put more people to work building cars, homes and businesses that waste less energy. We can do this. We’re Americans. And when we commit ourselves to something, there’s no telling how far we’ll go.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

 

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