Energy plan can 'break cycle' of oil dependence, Obama says
Updated On: Mar 16 2013 12:02:08 PM CDT
Using revenue collected from drilling on public lands to fund alternative energy research will help Americans break their dependence on oil, President Barack Obama predicted in his weekly address on Saturday.
He was speaking in Lemont, Illinois, where on Friday he laid out his plan at a laboratory conducting green energy research.
"After years of talking about it, we're finally poised to take control of our energy future," Obama said in his address, pointing to increased oil production in the United States and the higher percentage of energy that now comes from renewable sources.
Despite the progress, Obama noted the recent spike in gas prices, calling it a "serious blow" to family budgets.
"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," Obama said.
His plan pledges to put money earned through increased royalties from oil and gas drilling on federal land to fund alternative fuel research.
"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," Obama said.
In his address, the president advocated producing more oil and gas domestically as well as biofuels, solar power and wind power.
Obama has faced criticism from Republicans who say he's dragging his feet in approving the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to Texas.
In 2012, Obama delayed approval of the pipeline until after the election. He's expected to make a final decision sometime this summer. A recent State Department report found that the project would not adversely impact the environment.
On Friday, a White House spokesman said the plan Obama laid out in Illinois would have a far greater impact on securing America's energy independence than the Keystone pipeline.
"There have been thousands of miles of pipelines that have been built while President Obama has been in office, and I think the point is, is that it hasn't necessarily had a significant impact one way or the other on addressing climate change," White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
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