President Barack Obama embarked on a two-day, three-state tour on Wednesday to highlight his administration’s commitment to “American made energy.” Facing pointed criticism regarding the impact of his energy policy on national gas prices, the President hopes this tour will demonstrate his commitment to U.S. energy independence, by whatever means necessary.
Over the next 48 hours, Obama will visit a big solar farm in Nevada, oil and gas drilling rigs in New Mexico and a huge storage facility in Oklahoma where a portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will transport oil to Gulf Coast refineries (and then ship the fuel to foreign countries). This last stop mystifies many, since Obama has continually rejected construction of the northern portion of the Keystone XL on environmental grounds.
Today, the President begins the trip in Boulder City, Nevada where he will visit the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility, the largest photovoltaic plant operating in the country with nearly one million solar panels powering 17,000 homes. There he will highlight his Administration’s focus on diversifying our energy portfolio, including expanding renewable energy from sources like wind and solar, which double during his first term as President.
Unfortunately, this commitment to renewable energy is only a small portion of Obama’s overall energy plan (PDF) for the United States. His administration has continued to expand oil and natural gas drilling on American soil and along our coastlines. This expansion has occurred despite the unprecedented destruction and lack of regulatory oversight demonstrated during the BP oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, and scientific evidence that hydraulic fracturing puts American drinking water supplies at risk for contamination.
Many see Obama’s support of both fossil fuel and renewable energy as contradictory. As long as the oil, coal, and gas industries enjoy massive subsidies while taking almost zero responsibility for the damage done to our environment, we’ll continue to lose ground to countries already embracing the clean energy future.
Image via Flickr/borman818