While Americans wait for Barack Obama to take office, the nation’s energy future hangs in the balance. Still, amidst so much uncertainty, a review of the president-elect’s statements and actions in recent months offers an ever-so-slight glimmer of hope.
During an Aug. 4 speech at Michigan State University in Lansing, Obama said this:
“Over the next five years, we should also lease more of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska for oil and gas production. And we should also tap more of our substantial natural gas reserves and work with the Canadian government to finally build the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline, delivering clean natural gas and creating good jobs in the process.”
Can’t argue with that logic.
During his speech three weeks later at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Obama said this:
“As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves.”
To me, tapping our natural gas reserves means expanding exploration efforts aimed at increasing production of the energy source so abundant in North America. If that’s Obama’s intention, I say, “Hurrah!”
Finally, according to an article in The New York Times yesterday, Obama’s selection of Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) as his White House chief of staff could yield a net positive for the future of the natural gas industry:
But new hope for natural gas fuel interests may be on the way: When President-elect Barack Obama chose Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois to be his chief of staff, he chose one of Congress’s biggest proponents of compressed natural gas cars.
Last summer Mr. Emanuel introduced legislation (PDF) that would mandate automakers to build 10 percent of their fleet with natural gas fueled vehicles by 2018. His bill also included tax credits and other incentives and mandates to spread natural gas pumps to filling stations across the country.
Here’s to hoping Obama listens to his chief of staff — on natural gas issues, that is.
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Afterthought: Please know that I’m not a fan of Rahm Emanuel on most issues. If you’re interested, a pre-election post, Emanuel Offers Another Reason to Vote for McCain, explains why I find Obama’s right-hand man objectionable.