June 2nd, 2010
02:38 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama uses Gulf oil spill for energy agenda push

(CNN) - President Barack Obama used the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico to advance his alternative energy agenda Wednesday, calling it a warning that America needs to transition away from dependence on fossil fuels.

"The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf right now may prove to be a result of human error - or corporations taking dangerous shortcuts that compromised safety," Obama said in remarks at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"But we have to acknowledge that there are inherent risks to drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth - risks that are bound to increase the harder oil extraction becomes. Just like we have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and grandchildren."

Obama's emphasis on energy issues was part of a broader focus in the president's speech on the state of the economy. Administration officials pledged to focus strongly on job creation earlier in the year but have since been forced to grapple with a host of unexpected challenges, including the oil spill.

"The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future," Obama said. "That means [making] everything from our homes and businesses to our cars and trucks more energy efficient. It means tapping into our natural gas reserves, and moving ahead with our plan to expand our nation's fleet of nuclear power plants. And it means rolling back billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development."

The president also renewed his call for what critics characterize as a carbon tax.

"The only way the transition to clean energy will succeed is if the private sector is fully invested in this future," he said. "And the only way to do that is by finally putting a price on carbon pollution."

Filed under: BP • Energy • President Obama
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. jeff jackson, alabama

    For the President to use this oil spill
    as a political tool is shameful .
    The longer it goes on the more of a tool
    it becomes. Then we really should look
    at the slow response closer.

    June 2, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA

    I want to know will the Bush Administration be persecuted for their part in creating the condlitions for this oil spill.

    June 2, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. stevegee

    Unbelievable! Obama is using an environmental crisis to push his cap-and-tax scam. He and the progressives want to control every aspect of life in this country, and they will stop at nothing to achieve that socialist nightmare.

    In November 2010, vote American, vote Republican!

    June 2, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. honest abe

    How convenient would it be to let this spill go on
    and on and on just to justify some silly energy
    agenda ?
    Not too far fetched to believe when you consider
    previous Chicago machine types.
    Al Capone, Daley, Daley Jr., Bill Ayers,
    Barak Oba...uh...oh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 2, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. phoenix86

    In other words, electricity and gasoline prices are going to RISE dramatically, as will taxes.

    Tax & Spend. The democratic mantra of governance is once again on full display.

    June 2, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. Meka

    Thank you President Obama, the Proof is in the Pudding!

    June 2, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Now they want to send in the military to help? Wouldn't that be a government takeover of the environmental sanitation sector? Why not just contract it out to Blackwater? I mean, if the private sector can't fix it, it just can't be fixed. Perhaps the invisible hand of the market will stick its thumb in the leak and plug it up. Have a nice day!

    June 2, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. LacrosseMom (the real one)

    We MUST become energy independent! We must invest in the great minds of our nation, and believe in good-old-American-know-how to create new sources of sustainable clean energy. Then we will be able to say goodbye to the Middle Eastern Oil cartel!

    June 2, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. Dean

    Wondering why oil companies ever got tax breaks????Kinda like wondering why companies that outsource get tax breaks?????
    Or why farmers getmoney for not growing?????
    Obama we are ready for clean energy, although I'm not sure nuclear can be considered too "green" , just give it too us. In the meantime we do still need affordable energy for our current machinery( autos, furnaces, electricity and so forth). Pelosi says every American needs to use green energy. My response is ,Where is it?

    June 2, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. Paul from Phoenix

    And this is why I believe that Obama is actually a little happy this tragedy has occurred, much the way Bush was looking for a way into Iraq. He is a very cold, calculating person.

    June 2, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Conservative Democrat

    Never going to happen. Greed trumps all. A few years from now, the lessons learned from the gulf spill will be a distant memory. It will be business as usual with oil companies cutting corners and ignoring regulations in order to make more and more profits. There will be a new group of government "regulators" being bought off by the oil industry.

    June 2, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Americans have a responsibility to make a transition from oil or stop complaining about paying Iran billions for oil. Iran will never go to war with the U.S. because we are their cash cow.

    June 2, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Mark from Louisiana

    This idiot has no clue.......clean energy would be nice but it will take hundreds of years to have enough to replace petroleum. Even the batteries in obamas clean cars are made with petroleum products.

    If the accident that happened in the gulf would have happened at a nuclear power plant and have been unfixable for a month, half of the country could be dead.

    If the environmental loons didn't prevent us from drilling on land we wouldn't be trying to drill in mile deep waters. A blowout like what happened in the gulf could have been shut down in a day or two on land.

    As for a carbon tax, obama needs to tell his buddies and fellow investors in the Chicago Climate Exchange that America won't accept a business killing tax.

    This could all be moot, he could be impeached soon for the cover up of the bribes to Sestak and the other two guys.

    June 2, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. gt

    every one will enjoy $ 10.00 a gallon gas....

    June 2, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. Four and The Door

    Just like we have to acknowledge that an America run solely on fossil fuels should not be the vision we have for our children and grandchildren."
    This is as ironic as hearing Bernie Madoff talk about the compassion he has for his investors. Obama's runup in federal debt is already a disaster for our children and grandchildren. If it wasn't for the Republicans getting ready to take over the house and senate, I'm sure he would run that debt up to $20 trillion.

    June 2, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. Conspiracy Nut

    Deepwater Horizon was an inside job!

    June 2, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. Goofus

    Only one thing to do sir! Lead by example and ground Air Force One! Oughta save a lot of fossil fuel !

    June 2, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |