Obama boosts energy focus with White House meeting, upcoming lab visit

The White House efforts to publicize Thursday’s meeting and next week’s travels arrive as Republicans are strongly pressing Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

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The trip also follows months of rising gasoline prices, although the nationwide average price has been falling over the past week, according to AAA.

Participants Thursday included Anadarko Petroleum Chairman Jim Hackett, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Jackson, Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson and NextEra Energy Inc. Executive Chairman Lew Hay, whose company has invested heavily in renewable energy. He’s also chairman of a major power industry trade group.

White House aides at the meeting included Heather Zichal, the top adviser to Obama on energy, John Holdren, who is the president’s top science adviser, and Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz.

Earnest, in Friday’s press briefing, touted increases in national oil and natural gas production in recent years, as well as increases in green power generation, and drops in U.S. carbon emissions and lower imports of foreign oil.

“The President made clear that his administration will build on this historic progress, using tools including existing authorities across the federal government and leveraging public-private partnerships to achieve key energy and climate objectives in his second term,” Earnest said.