President Obama gave a speech this morning from a hanger at Andrews Air Force Base reiterating our country’s need for energy independence. This will be done, he says, through energy initiatives and the government will “lead by example.” In the background, a Navy Green Hornet jet that will fly on a mix of 50 percent biomass on earth day next month.
I believe the only group that will be truly happy after today’s speech is our frenemy Big Oil. Obama said, “So today we’re announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration, but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America’s natural resources. Under the leadership of Secretary Salazar, we’ll employ new technologies that reduce the impact of oil exploration. We’ll protect areas that are vital to tourism, the environment, and our national security. And we’ll be guided not by political ideology, but by scientific evidence.”
They will be guided by scientific evidence? Whose scientific evidence? If we developed policy that was based on sound science, we wouldn’t have two pieces of legislation, the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) and California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard that are shamelessly based on the misguided and not scientifically supported theory of indirect land use.
Obama continues, “But what I want to emphasize is that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy. And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and the long run. To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake.”
Well, I’ll tell you one thing that will strengthen our economy in the short term and the long term – the support of alternative energy including all biofuels. And his own administration should take its own advice – the only way a transition will succeed is the support of current biofuels technologies, such as corn ethanol and biodiesel, while we move to second and third generation biofuels. They also need to pass the E15 Waiver so that we can continue forward to meeting the country’s energy independence goals as set out in the RFS.
While I am frustrated at the lack of synergy in our energy and environmental policies, I hope that environmental activists who are engaging in a smear campaign against biofuels get distracted by fact that our country will soon be drilling in environmentally sensitive areas. If they don’t, well then it will be another element of proof that the environmental contingency is in the back pocket of big oil, not the front pocket of our country’s move to a clean, green energy economy.