Obama Tours Four States To Defend Energy Policy

Against the desert backdrop of the nation’s largest solar energy installation, President Obama on Wednesday assailed Republican critics of his clean energy policies as “the flat earth society” even as he sought to demonstrate his own support for domestic oil and gas production.

Before Mr. Obama spoke at the solar plant southeast of Las Vegas, administration officials previewed an executive order that the president will announce on Thursday in Oklahoma to expedite federal permits for the southern half of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico. Republicans derided the move as a political stunt, intended only to blunt their criticism of Mr. Obama’s decision in January to reject, on environmental grounds, a northern leg of the pipeline from Canada to Cushing, Okla.

The partisan back and forth reflected the election-year stakes as Americans’ disgust with high gasoline prices has chipped at Mr. Obama’s approval ratings in polls and given Republicans a renewed sense of his vulnerability on pocketbook issues at a time when the economy otherwise has been improving.

The president’s visits to Nevada and New Mexico on Wednesday opened a four-state trip over two days to highlight what he calls his “all of the above” agenda to foster alternative energy sources, as well as oil and gas, with federal tax and spending incentives.

“And, yes, that means we make investments in stuff that is new and we stop subsidizing stuff that’s old,” Mr. Obama told a small audience at the nation’s largest solar energy installation, Sempra Energy’s Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility, which now provides power for 17,000 homes in California and is building additional acres of solar panels to create energy for 110,000 more, according to the company.

“The current members of the flat earth society in Congress, they would rather see us continue to provide $4 billion — $4 billion — in tax subsidies, tax giveaways, to the oil companies,” Mr. Obama said. “Every time you fill up at the pump, they’re making money,” he added.

Such language sets up a Senate vote, perhaps next week, on a Democratic proposal to repeal $2 billion in tax subsidies for the biggest oil companies and dedicate that sum to clean energy projects. But the measure is expected to fall short — as similar proposals have — as Democrats from energy-producing states join with the Senate’s Republican minority against it.

The office of Speaker John A. Boehner released a statement dismissing Mr. Obama’s energy trip as a “tour de farce” and recalling the much-publicized failure of another beneficiary of the administration’s clean energy subsidies, the solar manufacturing firm Solyndra.

Mr. Obama anticipated such counterattacks in his remarks.

“Each successive generation recognizes that some technologies are going to work; some won’t,” he said. “Some companies will fail; some companies will succeed.” But, Mr. Obama added, “I’m not going to give up on the new to cede our position to China or Germany or all the other competitors out there who are making massive investments in clean energy technology.”

In advance of Mr. Obama’s remarks, the American Petroleum Institute released a letter to Mr. Obama from its president, Jack N. Gerard, taking issue with the administration’s offensive.

“Pitting one energy source against another is a false choice which ignores the fact that we will need it all,” Mr. Gerard wrote.

In arguments that Republicans have echoed, Mr. Gerard countered Mr. Obama’s frequent claim that oil production in the United States is the highest in eight years, saying that production is up on private and state lands but down on federally owned land. Administration officials dispute that.

From Nevada, Mr. Obama flew to southeastern New Mexico to examine federal lands where 70 rigs are pumping oil.

He told a friendly audience there, “You wouldn’t know it from listening to some of these folks who are running for office — I won’t mention any names; you know who they are — but producing more oil here in our own country has been, and will continue to be, a key part of our energy strategy. Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. That’s a fact.”

Like Thursday’s scheduled stop in Cushing, the president’s itinerary is intended to show that he is not hostile to oil and gas production, as his opponents would have it. From Oklahoma, Mr. Obama will close his cross-country swing in Ohio, at an Ohio State University center for advanced energy research and development.

Most of Mr. Obama’s stops are in election battleground states; this will be his second visit to Ohio in two weeks. So Oklahoma stands out: it was 50th among the states in support for Mr. Obama in 2008, with 66 percent of its vote going to John McCain. In the other three states, Crossroads GPS, a Republican “super PAC,” bought broadcast time for anti-Obama advertisements to offset coverage of his appearances.

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  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Mar 23, 2012 at 10:15 AM
    “The guy who steadfastly opposes drilling for oil and has not issued any permits to speak of, particularly since Gulf oil drilling moratorium — the guy who has made his name opposing the Keystone pipeline — is now out taking credit for it!” Limbaugh said “The only thing that a president can stop, again, is an international pipeline. In fact, the Keystone XL Pipeline is the first international pipeline that has ever been denied by a president. Keystone is the first international pipeline ever denied!” he added. “And he was denying it as recently as Monday. And he was criticizing it as recently as Tuesday. And he was telling people that there was no silver bullet or magic bullet to any new oil in this country however we got it, via drilling or via pipeline. And in a space of less than 48 hours, we have had the equivalent of an atheist become the pope on oil and on energy. The Keystone XL Pipeline is the first time in history a presidential permit for a cross-border pipeline has ever been denied.” Rush, and anybody that wants to deny this to be factual, you are wellcome to prove it, its the truth.
  • by Kenyan Community Organizer on Mar 22, 2012 at 06:56 PM
    Obama wants gas prices to go up to the point where we have to buy their crappy electric cars. Its a ponzi scheme by his cronies Al Gore,Warren Buffett and George Soros who are heavilly vested in green energy. If your feeling the pain at the pump..it's because he refuses to drill for oil domesticly or even let friendly Canadian oil be routed here. The keystone pipeline was conceded finally out of political expedience. I have no doubt if they start on its construction he will scrap it the day after his reelection. Barack Obama: "I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing. But if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment, first of all by putting more money in their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more rapidly, particularly U.S. automakers…"
  • by cuz on Mar 22, 2012 at 03:01 PM
    If obama's lips are moving he is lying!!! He wouldn't know the truth if it hit him between the eyes. What a joke for President.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 22, 2012 at 01:07 PM
    What I find absolutely amazing and incredibly ironic is that there actually is a Flat Earth Society and guess what? They support Obama.
  • by proracer1949 Location: Greenville on Mar 22, 2012 at 06:14 AM
    The gas prices are controlled by wall street oil speculators, just think about this. When someone fills up a compact car $7.00 goes directly to wall street, when someone fills up a mid size SUV $10.00 goes to wall street, and when someone fills up a large SUV with one fuel tank at least $16.00 goes to the true problem that is wall street. Wake up people it is not the President that is the problem it is more wall street greed!!!!!
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Mar 22, 2012 at 09:53 AM in reply to proracer1949
      And isn't it great that Wall Street supported Obama? That is why he killed drilling domestic oil here to force us to buy "foreign oil" from other countries. Gosh, Obamagas will be 5 bucks by summer just to help out those poor terrorist countries, but Obama said he wanted to redustribute your wealth, he mean't it. Well, you wanted hope and change, wallow in it now!
      • reply
        by proracer1949 on Mar 22, 2012 at 11:02 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        people like you are so blind to the facts it is amazing. Everyone knows that big oil powers your republican party, thank I am joking , just do a little research. Check out the big money that is being put into your party, but you can at least have alot to think about for the next four years as Obama will still be your president!
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil Co on Mar 22, 2012 at 01:25 PM in reply to proracer1949
          So you should have stayed away from the facts and made it your personal opine, you wouldn't look like a fool with you pants on the ground standing with Obama; While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years. BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals. On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying — including $15.9 million last year alone — as it has tried to influence energy policy.
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil Co on Mar 22, 2012 at 03:42 PM in reply to proracer1949
          Google "BP Oil contributes to Obama Campaign" and also top ten Obama contributors.....get ready to feel real stupid....yeah, its going to hurt....
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 23, 2012 at 07:50 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        I didn't know Saudi Arabia (an ally) was a terrorist country.
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil Co on Mar 23, 2012 at 09:57 AM in reply to
          What does that have to do with duck sauce at Disney in the spring. Read here...think you will find one or two....1) Saudi Arabia2) Iran3) Iraq4) Kuwait5) Venezuela 6) Qatar 7) Indonesia 8) Libya 9) United Arab Emirates10) Algeria 11) Nigeria
  • by Anonymous on Mar 22, 2012 at 06:02 AM
    He should tour kenya.
  • by Ben Location: Kinston on Mar 22, 2012 at 05:51 AM
    Throwing billions upon billions at energy schemes that will not work is yet another one of Obama's strategies to bankrupt America. He uses every excuse possible to dig us deeper in debt and thus devalue the dollar. Been to the grocery store lately? It's not just gas prices that are going up almost daily. On the world stage oil prices are indexed to the value of the dollar and every time the Fed prints more money the value of the dollar goes down and the cost of everything else goes up. This demagogue knows exactly what he is doing to the American economy and to the American people. It is all part of the "progressives" plan to impose socialism on America and then on a grander scale, the world.
  • by Boats Location: Beaufort on Mar 22, 2012 at 04:58 AM
    He has a policy? I mean other than wanting gasoline prices equal to those in Europe.
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Mar 22, 2012 at 03:44 PM in reply to Boats
      Yep, he said he was going to redistribute our wealth...seems the Saudis have some really nice Mercedes now. Even those poor poor terrorists can afford new AK 47s with scopes to kill us with now.
  • by Mr. America Location: downeast on Mar 22, 2012 at 04:32 AM
    Obama this Obama that Obama went to Oklahoma in a cowboy hat.This man is a joke.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 22, 2012 at 04:21 AM
    Typical conservative minds speaking out here....Ah yes! the conservative mind...always the last to grasp any kind a a new Idea...If they had their way in the past...We would be a colony of Great Britain, Women would NOT have the right to vote...There still would be slavery.The airplane, and automobile wouldn't be in existence and the internet would be science fiction.
    • reply
      by Anon on Mar 22, 2012 at 04:59 AM in reply to
      There still is slavery, it is chosen. You are the typical liberal mind, don't think for yourself. Oh savior, please give me power at twice the cost. Everyone else will be happy about it too. I will vote for you.
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