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Obama steps up on spill

By Kate Sheppard

Earlier this week I bemoaned that President Obama and his administration were missing out on an opportunity to promote a major overhaul to our energy system. I'm not alone in that belief -- see Tom Friedman and David Roberts for starters. But Obama appears to be finally getting some fire in his belly on the spill and connecting it to an energy agenda.

"Climate change poses a threat to our way of life -- in fact, we’re already beginning to see its profound and costly impact," he said in remarks at a solar company in Fremont, Calif., Wednesday. "The spill in the Gulf, which is just heartbreaking, only underscores the necessity of seeking alternative fuel sources." He pledged to "keep fighting" to pass a climate bill -- and to "try to get it done this year."

He could still stand to put a little more fight in there -- specifically, offering some guidelines to the Senate on the issue. The Senate has been the laggard on this issue, and it needs direct, public pressure from the administration. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) finally put out a draft version of their bill earlier this month, but Democrats are still struggling with crucial issues such as offshore drilling -- not to mention outstanding questions about whether it will make it on the legislative calendar and if it can find any Republican support.

On both health care reform and financial regulation, the administration weighed in with clear directives. It hasn't done so with climate and energy, outside of calling for general principles such as a price on carbon. Now would seems like a good time to get a little more hands-on.

Obama also made remarks on the oil spill that offered more reasons for optimism than previous statements on drilling:

We’re not going to transition out of oil next year or 10 years from now. But think about it, part of what’s happening in the Gulf is that oil companies are drilling a mile underwater before they hit ground, and then a mile below that before they hit oil.
With the increased risks, the increased costs, it gives you a sense of where we’re going. We’re not going to be able to sustain this kind of fossil fuel use. This planet can’t sustain it.

Kate Sheppard covers energy and environmental politics inMother Jones' Washington bureau. For more of her stories, see here, and you can follow her on Twitter here.

By Washington Post editor  |  May 27, 2010; 8:44 AM ET
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Nuclear power and electric cars, baby. That's the answer. Deal with it.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | May 27, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Your posting has been excellent, but this post is exactly the sort of thing that's been annoying me about criticism of the President over the spill. Everyone wants him to do more, but nobody says what he could actually do. Vague ideas like "take charge" or "show he cares" or "get down there" aren't helpful. Your post suggests that he talk tougher. But that won't cap the well.

You say that he offered clear guidelines on health care. The HCR debate had been going for about a YEAR before he did so. This is classic Obama, and I think at this point he deserves the benefit of the doubt. He doesn't make grandiose (and usually pointless) statements. But stuff gets done. (See stimulus, HCR, hopefully DADT)

Posted by: yawgmoth6139 | May 27, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Kevin. Finally.

Of course, the more diverse we are with energy sources, the better. There's also the need for solar, wind, wave, etc...

Posted by: Lomillialor | May 27, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I love solar, wind and wave power. And hydroelectric, although that ship has sailed.

I just have a suspicion that, in the near term, only nuclear has the production potential to supply the necessary wattage to run the cars at levels approaching those at which we drive them.

The other thing, of course, is to increase efficiencies and decrease consumption.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | May 27, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse


Microwave laser radio frequency (or plasma or particle beam) "directed energy weapons" -- some of which already are online, but being kept classified -- could produce an endless supply of cheap energy, according to Judy Wood, Ph.D., a physical engineer who has researched this subject extensively. (

It appears that "scalar wave" electromagnetic technology, based on the science of Nikola Tesla, the inventor of the electric motor, is being withheld by government and industry to be used as weapons of mass -- or individual -- destruction.

This article by a veteran journalist exposes how this technology is being used to impair, injure and enslave Americans who have been targeted as "dissidents" or "undesirables:"

OR: re: "Gestapo USA..." or FACEBOOK -- Vic Livingston

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 27, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse


First, get back on your meds.

Then, read this:

Then, stay on your meds.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 27, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

TO: "Patrick_M" @ 6:30 p.m.:

"get back on your meds" = Second lamest psy ops ever...

...the first being, "tin foil hat."

Read this, "Patrick:" (see "stories" list, "True Tales of Lame U.S. Gov't Psy Ops")

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 28, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

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