SOTU a Mixed Bag for Energy Policy

In his fifth State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Obama outlined his vision for the future of energy policy. As usual, President Obama touted his all-of-the-above approach to energy.

In the beginning of his speech, Obama flaunted that “more oil [is] produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years.”

However, he did make note that natural gas, “if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.” Obama vaguely touched on fracking here. He also plans to “cut red tape” so that factories what use natural gas can be built more easily.

Then, Obama elaborated on the solar industry. “Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced,” he said, “Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.”

Towards the end of his discussion of energy policy, Obama powerfully declared that “climate change is a fact,” and that a “shift to a cleaner energy economy” is necessary.

There were very few clear-cut environmental policy objectives in the speech and the pride in the increase in fossil fuel production is quite troublesome. However, Obama did recognize the huge potential of solar energy in powering the country and cleaning the environment. On the whole, the State of the Union address was a mixed bag for energy policy.