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March 31, 2010 Published in EcoNews

Obama Administration Announces Comprehensive Strategy For Energy Security

Decisions expand domestic production, promote efficiency

As part of the Administration’s comprehensive energy strategy President Barack Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced more details of the Obama Administration’s efforts to strengthen our energy security.  President Obama and Secretary Salazar announced that the Administration will expand oil and gas development and exploration on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to enhance our nation’s energy independence while protecting fisheries, tourism, and places off U.S. coasts that are not appropriate for development.  Also included in the announcement are landmark car and truck fuel standards, key efforts being carried out by the Department of Defense to enhance energy security, and an effort to green the federal vehicle fleet.  Details are below.

“I want to emphasize that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies on homegrown fuels and clean energy.  And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and the long term.  To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake,” said President Obama.

Over the last year, under the leadership of Secretary Salazar, the Administration has worked to reevaluate previous decisions in an effort to set oil and gas drilling policies on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, and take environmental risks and responsibilities into account.

“By responsibly expanding conventional energy development and exploration here at home we can strengthen our energy security, create jobs, and help rebuild our economy,” said Salazar. “Our strategy calls for developing new areas offshore, exploring frontier areas, and protecting places that are too special to drill.  By providing order and certainty to offshore exploration and development and ensuring we are drilling in the right ways and the right places, we are opening a new chapter for balanced and responsible oil and gas development here at home.”

The President will highlight today additional key measures that will boost domestic energy production, diversify America’s energy portfolio and promote clean energy innovation.

Background on Today’s Announcements:

More Domestic Production – Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing: The Administration’s strategy calls for developing oil and gas resources in new areas, such as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico; increasing oil and gas exploration in frontier areas, such as parts of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans; and protecting ocean areas that are simply too special to drill, such as Alaska’s Bristol Bay.  The strategy will guide the current 2007-2012 offshore oil and gas leasing program, as well as the new 2012-2017 program that this administration will propose.  More specific details on this plan are available at www.doi.gov.

Landmark Car and Truck Fuel Standards – Finalized EPA/DOT CAFE and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards: On April 1st, EPA and DOT will sign a joint final rule establishing greenhouse gas emission standards and corporate average fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles for model years 2012-2016.    Announced last May, the rule is a product of a historic deal between the Obama Administration, the State of California, and automakers to bring regulatory certainty to the automotive market while increasing fuel efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, and ensuring consumer choice and savings.  This measure is expected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program.

Leading by Example – Greening the Federal Fleet: Last year, President Obama issued Executive Order 13514 asking Federal agencies to lead by example towards a clean energy economy.  GSA and DOE are doing just that. As a result of their combined efforts we have doubled the Federal hybrid vehicle fleet and before the end of the year we’ll purchase the first 100 plug-in electric vehicles to roll off American assembly lines.  Additionally, agencies are: Purchasing hybrid instead of conventional cars and trucks that use more fuel; Downsizing vehicle fleets overall; and requiring plug-in electric charging stations for all new facilities and for major retrofits.

Department of Defense Energy Security Strategic Emphasis: The recently released Quadrennial Defense Review makes clear that crafting a strategic approach to energy and climate change is a high priority for the Department of Defense (DoD).  This reflects mission considerations above all. The Department’s own analysis confirms what outside experts have long warned: our military’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels creates significant risks and costs at a tactical as well as a strategic level.  The DoD is actively pursuing strategic initiatives to enhance energy security and independence and reduce harmful emissions, including encouraging the development and use of domestically produced advanced biofuels.  You can learn more about DoD’s energy initiatives here.