The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



Obama Marks Earth Day at Iowa Wind Tower Plant

President Obama addresses workers at Trinity Structural Towers, a windmill tower manufacturing plant, in Newton, Iowa.(David Greedy/Getty Images)

By Michael A. Fletcher
NEWTON, Iowa -- President Obama marked Earth Day by traveling to a wind turbine tower plant here to promote his renewable energy policy, which he said will simultaneously create jobs, increase national security and help the environment.

"The choice we face is not between saving our environment and saving our economy -- it's a choice between prosperity and decline," Obama said. "The nation that leads the world in creating new sources of clean energy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy."

Speaking at a cavernous plant that formerly housed a Maytag appliance factory, Obama called on Congress to pass legislation that would invest $150 billion in the burgeoning renewable energy sector over the next decade.

Obama also called for an increase in domestic oil and gas production as a "short-term" measure, while saying the nation should increase the use of nuclear energy while finding reliable ways to store nuclear waste.

The president's appearance marked what the White House called the president's effort to enact comprehensive energy legislation, which Obama views as vital to the nation's long-term interests. The administration included $23 billion for renewable energy in its recently enacted economic stimulus plan. The bill also contained money to retrain workers in green jobs.

And now the administration is prodding Congress to move aggressively on a cap-and-trade regime to reduce carbon emissions.

"By closing the carbon loophole through this kind of market-based cap, we can address in a systematic way all the facets of the energy crisis: lowering our dependence on foreign oil, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and promoting new industries right here in America," Obama said.

Today, three Cabinet secretaries were on Capitol Hill to testify in favor of legislation to address climate change. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to regulate greenhouse gases, putting further pressure on Congress to act. Yet, it remains unclear whether Congress will produce the kind of legislation the administration is seeking.

Opponents of cap and trade legislation, who included many Republicans as well as Democrats from industrial and coal producing states, have criticized it as a massive tax that will increase the cost of electricity and a broad range of products across the economy.

"House Democrats are beginning their push for a cap-and-trade scheme that makes big promises, but amounts to little more than a national energy tax that will destroy countless jobs and raise energy prices on families and small businesses already struggling during this recession," said House Republican leader John Boehner (Ohio).

Before speaking, Obama toured the Trinity Structural Towers Manufacturing Plant, which constructs huge columns for wind turbines. Nationally, that business has been picking up in recent years, with 8,300 put in place across the United States last year -- more than 20 times installed in 2002, according to Victor R. Abate, a vice president at General Electric.

Obama pointed to the plant as a model of how the nation's manufacturing economy can be transformed to accommodate a renewable energy future. The plant here employs 91 people, and expects to create over 100 more jobs within the next two years.

While the plant is creating jobs, its scale pales next to the number of people who once worked at Maytag, which employed some 1,800 workers before its plant here closed two years ago.

In his remarks, Obama announced that the Department of Interior for the first time leased federal waters for projects to generate electricity from wind as well as from ocean currents and other renewable sources.

"The nation that leads the world in creating new sources of clean energy will be the nation that leads the 21 st century global economy," Obama said. "America can be that nation. America must be that nation."

Posted at 2:36 PM ET on Apr 22, 2009  | Category:  Energy
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To all of you "Drill Now" folks out there -- the oil companies are good ole profit making companies. They aren't even pumping existing wells in the U.S., and certainly aren't drilling expensive wells. They won't drill here until the price of oil goes up, A LOT. So, unless you are willing to pay $4/gal. for gas, don't expect the oil companies to start drilling here.

There is enough wind energy, using today's technology, to produce 3 times as much energy as we use each year, from the Great Plains, ALONE. In many parts of the country, Wind is now the cheapest form of electricty.

Many countries do not have much wind energy - the U.S. is lucky and has more than we need. The U.S. Great Plains is talked about as the "Saudi Arabia of Wind". We just need to take advantage of that, as soon as we can.

Drilling here will come, but not until middle east oil becomes a lot more expensive.

Posted by: jonesje1 | April 23, 2009 7:51 PM

It's time for the President to get real about energy and stop selling the pipe dream of wind and solar being our salvation. On a positive note, at least he used the N word (nuclear) in his energy message. Too bad he let politics trump science by killing Yucca Mountain. By all means let's start developing wind and solar, but we still need an energy bridge to the future. Unless the Obamassiah issues an Executive Order repealing the laws of physics, wind and solar ain't gonna hack it for a long time to come. Coal and nuclear can play a major role, and, despite what the Chicken Littles tell us, nuclear waste is manageable. If Jimmy Carter hadn't killed breeder reactors, we'd be putting much of that "waste" to good use. Obama's green groupies are in for a rude awakening when people use their beloved NEPA process to kill wind towers and solar arrays. Some of those battles have already begun. When liberals loosed the NIMBY hounds on nuclear power years ago they overlooked something. Once you loose the hounds, you can't control where they run. It will be poetic justice when the groups who killed nuclear power and tout wind energy are hoisted on their own petard.

Posted by: Chippewa | April 22, 2009 11:07 PM

Meanwhile, the fact that we have potentially 2 TRILLION of barrels of oil in the US is not getting much press time:

It is estimated this is sufficient to meet the needs of the US for the next 250 years.

So where is the investment to develop the technology to use this oil?

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 22, 2009 9:35 PM

Maybe for Earth Day;

The Phony Messiah could try to come down to it!

As in NOT FLY AROUND being some Clown President Campaigning 5 Months after winning a Job he has shown complete INCOMPETENCE in Handling!

Just WHEN, are American People;


Going to see ANY of the TRILLIONS of OUR Dollars thrown away to Culpable Bankers;

as loans to us?!

Where is the Stock Report?

Here O'Bomba, An EARTH DAY PRESENT from moi!

And MY Buddy! ;~)

Thanks! :-)

And O'Bomba-Nation;

Bon Apetit! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | April 22, 2009 7:04 PM

"President Teleprompter"... wow, does that nail it! Very astute, robtr! I'm so weary of the daily dose -- force fed I might add -- of this administration's constant agenda marketing. Can't the man stay off camera for a single day? Talk about air pollution... sure wish he stay'd off the air (TV) & off the jet.

Posted by: Dead-eye | April 22, 2009 7:03 PM


I love watching Pres. Obama flying all over the place almost every day, instead of watching Bush fly to his ranch in Texas. At least I know he is doing the peoples work instead of just "doing" it to the people.

Posted by: AverageJane | April 22, 2009 7:00 PM

To all of you neanderthalls who make fun of individuals doing their part to wean us off of oil I ask...

Today would you rather inflate your tires or send your kid overseas to fight a war that is all about oil?

There are parents who have given the ultimate sacrifice for it already. Enough is enough! I've waited since 1973 to have a President who thinks like me, too bad it took so long.

Think of how many lives that would've been saved if we had started on the path to energy independence way back then.

And Bin Laden would have had nothing to hate us for because we wouldn't have been in Saudi Arabia or the Middle East, period.

Posted by: AverageJane | April 22, 2009 6:45 PM

Just wondering... How much jet fuel was consumed & pollution created during Obama's trip to Iowa today to "celebrate" Earth Day? Couldn't he have set a better example, maybe video-conferenced instead? As far as I know, we celebrate Earth Day here in DC, too.

There are Green Jobs being created by companies right here -- in this area -- that would have made suitable photo opportunities for the President, if that's what he was looking for. (And, he sure loves those photo-ops, doesn't he?) Why did he need to pollute to make his point today?

Do you think he's developing an addiction to flying on Air Force One?

Posted by: Dead-eye | April 22, 2009 6:42 PM

don't worry...
rahm's on it...

better than Obama coming to Iowa and telling them all that the Mission is Accomplished.....

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 22, 2009 6:23 PM

Fly that huge aircraft to Iowa to celebrate Earth Day. Real smart.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | April 22, 2009 5:40 PM

Things I find interesting:

The population of the earth is estimated to have been 200 million when Christ was born.

The population of the earth is estimated to have been 310 million when Charlemagne was crowned in the year 1000.

The population of the earth didnt pass 1 billion until after the year 1800.

The population of the earth when I was a kid in 1950 was 2.5 billion.

The population of the earch reached 6.1 billion in 2000.

The population of the earth reached 6.454 billion in 2005.

Total population has more than doubled in my lifetime. There are now more than 2 people walking around for every person I saw when I was 10. They all need food, shelter, education, transportation, jobs etc.

In the last five years we have added more population to the total than the entire population of earth in the year 1,000.

The idea that we can continue to grow in numbers as we have been and all aspire to an ever higher standard of living is suspect on its face. You don't need to be a scientist or an economist to figure it out.

The idea that for the last 250 years we have pumped ever increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere through industrialization and the automobile and that we can continue to do so without any consequences is suspect on its face.

The idea that ever more people on this planet can continue to do so is truly suspect on its face.

What me worry? I'm old enough that the planet wont get too hot nor will the oil run out for the remainder of my life span.

Posted by: toritto | April 22, 2009 5:40 PM

Earth Day 2009: our long global cow flatulence nightmare is over.


Posted by: MikeLicht | April 22, 2009 5:13 PM

The Taliban has pushed to within 60 miles of the Capital of Pakistan and 30 miles from their nuclear missile sites and President Teleprompter and the Washington Post are tilting at windmills in Iowa that may or may not produce 20% of our electricity by 2030. Maybe this narcissist could spend a day in Washington doing his job for a change.

Posted by: robtr | April 22, 2009 4:47 PM

Is this Iowa?
No, it's Heaven.

We have wind and same sex marriage.

Is there a heaven?
Yes, it's where dreams come true.

If you build it, he will come.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 22, 2009 4:04 PM

Earth day was started by a murderer in prison. America has cleaned up the environment and is doing really well. Wind power the future? LOL. Obama has GE in his pocket and the only reason he is pushing it is payback for NBC news coverage and the CEO Jeff Immelt who is on his economic team. The guy who provided weapons to Iran and ran GE into the ground is a chief financial advisor. LOL again.

Posted by: debmries | April 22, 2009 3:52 PM


POTUS should acknowledge concern over raising energy prices at a time of economic hardship for American families.

There is a way for government policy to promote a cleaner environment while keeping energy prices at present (still too high) levels.

But it's doubtful that the policy proposals on the table would do that.

The proposals need massaging to so that "cap and trade" does not result in higher energy prices to consumers.

If Team Obama does not address this concern, the Republican opposition may look like the "consumer friendly" position.



That could be a tell-tale sign of warrantless SPYING, even CENSORSHIP, by over-reaching operatives of government.

How DHS "fusion centers" are violating constitutional rights of innocent Americans:

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 22, 2009 3:30 PM

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