Addressing an audience at Georgetown University, president Barack Obama re-emphasized his administration’s commitment to reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, increasing investment in alternative fuels research, and, surprising to some, increasing domestic oil production in the near-term.
Although most of these are familiar themes from this administration, the call for increased domestic production came as a surprise to some, who saw the administration’s tight clamp-down on offshore drilling directly following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf as an over-reaction. Although the Department of the Interior has identified that 57 percent of on-shore, and 70 percent of off-shore leases are inactive, some industry analysts say the administration’s policies have not exactly been conducive to encouraging domestic production. In some cases, leases granted under the Bush administration have been rescinded due to environmental concerns.
The president also announced some ambitious goals for both the federal fleet, and for the national transportation and energy sectors overall. Among them are that 100 percent of the federal fleet be alternative-fuel vehicles by 2015, cutting oil imports by one-third from 11 million barrels a day by 2025, and generating 80 percent of the nation’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. Examples of which include wind, solar, biomass, hydropower, nuclear, natural gas and clean coal.
The president also reiterated the goal to have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, spurred by federally-funded incentives for consumers, as well as research grants into advanced battery R&D.