President Barack Obama highlighted natural gas and other “fuels of the future” in his State of the Union address last night during which he pledged to set new efficiency standards for trucks and “cut red tape” to help businesses build factories that use natural gas.
Businesses plan to invest about $100 billion in such factories, Obama said, adding that Congress can help by “putting people to work” building natural gas fueling stations, thus shifting vehicles away from foreign oil.
He urged lawmakers to stop giving $4 billion a year in tax breaks to “fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so we can invest in more fuels of the future that do.”
Obama said his administration will work with industry to encourage job growth while protecting air, water and communities.
The president called climate change “a fact,” and touted the US’ carbon pollution reduction over the past eight years, which he said was greater than any other nation’s. But the country needs to “act with more urgency,” he said, citing the droughts in the West and coastal communities dealing with floods.
The World Resources Institute president and CEO Dr. Andrew Steer praised the president’s speech, saying the administration “is ready to get down to business on climate change.” The flooding in Colorado, drought in California and rising sea levels in Florida and Virginia are hurting businesses in these communities, Steer said. “But, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that taking action on climate change can reduce these threats and create new economic opportunities.”
On the other hand, Institute for Energy Research president Thomas Pyle blasted the president for “strong-arming US auto companies into making smaller, lighter vehicles that pose greater safety risks to the driving public, to closing access to federal lands where affordable energy reserves lie untouched, to funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to fund reckless renewable energy ventures.”