We just got back from the Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility where, housed in a hangar, the President stood before an F/A-18 jet that will run on biofuels this Earth Day, and outlined his energy security strategy to break our dependence on foreign oil.
Our challenges are not insignificant: we have less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, but are responsible for more than 20 percent of world consumption; we know that drilling alone cannot come close to meeting our long-term energy needs, and that for our planet and our economic security, we need to begin the transition to cleaner fuels now. Today’s announcement marks another significant step in the President’s agenda to do just that – a broader strategy, as he said, to “move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies on homegrown fuels and clean energy.”
And as part of that strategy, in addition to developing oil and gas resources in new areas, the Administration is moving forward on many fronts to boost domestic energy production, diversify America’s energy portfolio and promote clean energy innovation:
- Landmark Car and Truck Fuel 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. 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. And GSA and DOE are doing just that by working to turn over their fleets with cleaner, hybrid vehicles.
- Department of Defense Energy Security Strategic Emphasis: The Defense Department is actively pursuing strategic initiatives to enhance energy security and independence and reduce harmful emissions, and encouraging the development and use of domestically produced advanced biofuels, including what will be on Earth Day the first-ever flight of a fighter jet on a 50/50 biofuel blend.
Today, as then-Senator Obama did on the campaign trail, the President highlighted the importance of laying a comprehensive new foundation in energy security – not just the easy choices, but the tough ones too – that will help us to achieve energy independence. Today’s decision reflected those tough choices: a year’s worth of conversations, a public comment process at the Department of Interior that yielded more than 500,000 public comments, and an ever-present emphasis on sound science, robust environmental protection and permitting, and a set of balanced approaches, including boosting our development of renewable, homegrown fuels that will ultimately put our nation in a position to lead the world in the race for clean energy and economic security.
If you’d like to learn more on the specifics of today’s outer continental shelf announcement, please find detailed information from the Department of Interior.
Carol Browner is Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate