Sen. Obama's initial comments on his energy policy August 6th from Elkhart, Indiana
I'm a little teleconference-happy today.
9:00 AM Alaska time we had one with Diane Benson (as you can see in my previous post).
Then at 11:00 AM, we had one with two heavies in the Obama for America campaign: Pete Rouse, Senior Advisor for the Campaign (and Former Chief of Staff, Alaska Lt. Gov. Terry Miller) and Heather Zichal, Director of Energy Policy for the Campaign.
Heather started by describing the plan Barack Obama has been unveiling over the last several days in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
Zichal listed an "aggressive" set of measures both in the short-term and the long-term to "make the investments we need to break our addiction to oil". We can't solf this overnight but we need to start now. Short-term: This begins with the "emergency energy rebate" of $1,000.00 per family, because "American consumers need direct assistance and need it now," stop putting oil in the strategic petroleum reserve and "crack down on speculators." (During later questioning, Zichal clarified that the $1,000 rebate will be capped at families that make over $150,000 and will be paid for by a proposed windfall profits tax.)
Zichal focused on three points that are at the center of the plan:
1) Increasing automobile standards - 1 mil hybrids on the road 2015 increase investment commit to 36 bil gallons advanced biofuels by 2012. As Senator Obama described it in Indiana:
First, we’ll commit ourselves to getting one million 150 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrid cars on our roads within six years. And we’ll make sure that the cars of tomorrow are built not just in Japan or China, but right here in the United States of America.
2) 25% renewable energy by 2025
Second, we’ll double the amount of our energy that comes from renewable sources by the end of my first term. That means investing in renewables like wind and solar power, and we’ll also invest in the next generation biofuels.
3) Efficiency standards-15%
Third, I will call on businesses, government, and the American people to meet the goal of reducing our demand for electricity 15% by the end of the next decade. This is by far the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to reduce our energy consumption – and it will save us $130 billion on our energy bills.
In the interim, the Obama Adminstration would continue with our domestic supply of natural gas and oil.
Also, resources are available that need to be developed and Zichal restated Obama's support for the Congressional Dems "use it or lose it" policy, as there are 68 million existing leases that need to be developed now.
Zichal also stated that a "cornerstone of the plan is a commitment from Fed gov't to build AK natural gas pipeline and bring resources on line."
Pete Rouse came on-line specifically addressing the energy plan as it effects Alaska and wanted to emphasize several points:
1) AK features prominently in the Obama energy plan (which was acknowledged by Governor in a press release earlier in the week).
2) There is a "sense of urgency in Barack's approach to the natural gas issue." While demand for gas is skyrocketing, gas development has been flat from 2000-2007. There is a great "potential for natural gas" as motor fuel, etc...
3) Barack Obama's understanding of the issue pertaining to Alaska has increased greatly through discussions with prominent Alaskans.
- He met one-on-one with Mark Begich in Miami and came back from that clearly on his mind that it needed to be highlighted even more.
- In the January op ed by Gov. Hickel, his "enthusiasm was not lost on Senator Obama."
- Tony Knowles is a good friend and close advisor to Sen. Obama--he has talked for several years to Senator Obama on this issue and will continue to do so.
Rouse also emphasized that the Obama Administration would look for a Federal Partnership with the State of Alaska to help move the pipeline project forward. (In response to my later question--establishing whether they were proposing to only work with the pipeline licensed by the state vs. competing lines--- Rouse stated that the idea was to first work with Governor Palin -- start from the leadership at the top we believe we can make real progress) He believes that Alaskans should share in benefits of project, which would include jobs and a reduction in the huge cost of energy in Alaska. According to Rouse, high energy prices in Alaska is "a fact underrecognized in the lower-48."
In a brilliant move on the part of the Obama Campaign, Rouse stated that in this "Federal partnership" with Alaska over the gas line, "Exxon should not have a disproportionate influence over the timetable for construction of this important national project." Rouse stated that Obama wants to move the project forward as what is best for Alaska and nation. Also, Rouse pointed out that "McCain opposed tax incentives to build the pipeline."
In response to the question as to whether Barack Obama will be visiting Alaska, Pete Rouse said that it is "still on the planning docket here and we hope that it happens."
HERE is the text of the remarks that Sen. Obama presented at the beginning of the Town Hall Meeting.
HERE is a link to the YouTube contributor with the eight videos of the entire Elkhart, Indiana Town Hall (starting in backwards order with Evan Bayh's introduction).
Labels: Alaska Gas Line, Barack Obama, Denver Convention, Elkhart, Exxon, Federal Partnership, Heather Zichal, Indiana, Obama for America Campaign, offshore drilling, Pete Rouse, renewable, Sarah Palin