The Real Color Problem of President Obama
This is the real reason the fossil industries whose profits are threatened by renewable energy go after him – and stir up emotional opposition groups to threaten him with outlandish attacks. Because he has already implemented or funded an extraordinary string of renewable energy initiatives.
He will likely be remembered as an FDR figure; the president who powered the nation with solar and wind.
Here’s just a few of the initiatives that will change our history.
1. In its first major coal plant decision, the Obama EPA stopped a new coal plant in South Dakota that had no pollution controls. Coal plants have routinely ignored Clean Air Act provisions. This move signaled to dozens of other coal plant proposals currently in permitting processes nationwide that they would now face a new level of federal scrutiny. Another one is threatened today.
2. Back In 2007, the Supreme Court had ruled against the Bush administration that carbon dioxide was a pollutant and therefor subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. Then the Bush EPA said it would need more than another year to see if “endanger” was a “legal term of art” that must be studied. (Warming Law) President Obama ended this, initiating the process of regulating greenhouse gases for the first time in U.S. history.
3. He adopted the more stringent auto emissions standards of the California Waiver nationwide and let California (and the 13 states following it; comprising half the autos in the nation) retain the right to put in place higher fuel efficiency standards than Federal standards if these get overturned again in the future. This established the first ever national auto emissions standard specifically targeting greenhouse gases. In return for implementing these higher standards nationwide, he persuaded the auto industry to drop their lawsuits against California in July (GreenCarCongress) at least temporarily.
4. He directed the DOT to immediately implement the 2007 CAFE 35 mpg regulations that the Bush administration had still not moved on. (New York Times)
5. He appointed Steven Chu; a Nobel prizewinning scientist (who fully understands the promise of renewable energy) to run the DOE and then unleashed him. There has been a steady stream of renewable energy funding, from this new DOE. This post would be overwhelming if I enumerated every item, which fills my inbox daily. Here’s just some:
Govt Picks a Winner: Tesla Gets $465 Million
President Obama: $800 Million for Biofuels and Flex-Fuel Vehicles
President Obama Announces $2.4 Billion in Funding for Electric Vehicles
Solyndra Solar Wins First DOE Fnding
Obama Unveils Largest-Ever Investment in Advanced Batteries
Another Day, Another Humungous Renewable Energy Funding Announcement From DOE
Obama Announces US $467M in Stimulus Funding for Geothermal and Solar Energy Projects
Obama Commits $13 billion for High Speed Rail
6. He lit a fire under slowmoving FERC by appointing Jon Wellinghoff to run it. He wrote the Renewable Energy Standard law in Nevada. FERC has been a Balkanised, bureaucratic morass long dominated by oil and gas utility interests. By contrast, Wellinghoff is a big-picture proponent of the vehicle-to-grid synergy between renewable power and electric cars, who is determined to build a transmission superhighway from remote wind and solar sources to population areas. (Washington Post)
7. The Recovery Act itself also includes numerous tax credits for homeowners to install renewable energy and efficiency, like the 30% tax credits on solar panels.
For the powers that be there’s a lot of CHANGE to fear. That President Obama has moved so swiftly to move the nation to a clean future of renewable energy is a threat to the fossil industry.
It is no wonder that there is pushback.
Image from SpiritWaterBlood