Obama doubles down on alternative energy in his weekly address

President Barack Obama is doubling down on the administration's plan to reinvest federal oil-and-gas drilling revenues into next-generation alternative energy technology, unveiled during his State of the Union address last February.

ADVERTISEMENT
"After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future," Obama said in his weekly address on Saturday, comparing recent increases in gasoline prices "to getting hit with a new tax" at a time when American's can least afford it.

"The only way we’re going to break this cycle of spiking gas prices for good is to shift our cars and trucks off of oil for good," the president added.

A key part of that plan, according to the White House, is the creation of an "Energy Security Trust," in which some offshore drilling royalties would be steered into development of technologies that help curb reliance on oil for transportation.

The money – $2 billion over a decade – would support research into advancing technology around electric vehicles, biofuels, fuel cells, and natural gas-powered vehicles, according to the White House.

Using those funds, via the new energy trust, would allow Washington to "support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit."

Clean energy technologies, such as vehicles that run on biofuels or natural gas, would let drivers "one day go coast-to-coast without using a drop of oil," Obama said on Saturday.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has expressed support for steering some oil-and-gas royalties into a green energy fund.

However, the Alaska Republican claims the administration must allow drilling in areas that are currently off limits to oil-and-gas firms.

On Friday, House Republicans doubted the viability of the president's clean energy strategy if expanded drilling is not part of the equation.

“For this proposal to even be plausible, oil and gas leasing on federal land would need to increase dramatically," according to Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

"Unfortunately, this administration has consistently slowed, delayed, and blocked American energy production,” Buck said.

--This report was updated at 7:07 a.m.