President Barack Obama gave a speech today on his energy strategy at Georgetown University in Washington. He addressed some of the recent controversy regarding domestic oil production, noting that oil production is at an 8-year high in the US, and that we can insist on safety with sensible regulation and still produce oil from offshore sites.
Obama urged oil companies to make greater use of the federal leases both onshore and offshore to prop up domestic oil output. The oil industry and GOP lawmakers have been loudly complaining about delays in the permitting of offshore drilling in recent months. But an irked administration, which had pledged tougher scrutiny of drilling applications after last year’s massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, fired back Tuesday with an Interior Department report that revived earlier debates about whether oil companies were exploiting the leases they already have.
Obama has made energy a priority since taking office, with the increase in automobile fuel efficiency marking perhaps his greatest impact. As part of the economic stimulus package adopted in 2009, he also won about $70 billion in grants and loan guarantees to promote energy efficiency, advanced batteries for cars and renewable energy. He has said that in addition to energy benefits those monies will create what he calls “green jobs.” But he poured a large amount of effort into winning passage of a cap-and-trade climate bill, which failed.