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Energy & Environment

Energy & Environment

"Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -– but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation –- workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors."

-President Obama, June 15, 2010

For decades it has been clear that the way Americans produce and consume energy is not sustainable.  Our addiction to foreign oil and fossil fuels puts our economy, our national security and our environment at risk. To take this country in a new direction, the President is working with Congress to pass comprehensive energy and climate legislation to protect our nation from the serious economic and strategic risks associated with our reliance on foreign oil, to create jobs, and to cut down on the carbon pollution that contributes to the destabilizing effects of climate change. 

The President has already made great strides toward changing our energy future.  The Recovery Act constituted an unprecedented and historic investment in the clean energy economy. Investments in the development of renewable energy and clean technologies will lead to the energy sources of the future.  Investments in high speed rail and advanced car batteries will lead to the transportation systems of the future. Investments in a smart electric grid and energy efficient homes, offices, and appliances will reduce our overall energy consumption as a nation. And all of these investments will lead to the industries of the future, help put America back in the lead of the global clean energy economy, and create millions of jobs over time. As the President said, “Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny.”

Clean Energy Economy

The nation that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will be the nation that leads the 21st century. Today, we export billions of dollars each year to import the energy we need to power our country. Our dependence on foreign oil threatens our national security, our environment and our economy. We must make the investments in clean energy sources that will put Americans back in control of our energy future, create millions of new jobs and lay the foundation for long-term economic security.  President Obama has already taken significant steps as part of a comprehensive strategy that will pave the way toward a clean energy future for our country.

  • Recovery Act Investments in Clean Energy
    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included more than $80 billion in the generation of renewable energy sources, expanding manufacturing capacity for clean energy technology, advancing vehicle and fuel technologies, and building a bigger, better, smarter electric grid, all while creating new, sustainable jobs.
  • Appliance Efficiency Standards
    The Administration has established more stringent energy efficiency standards for commercial and residential appliances, including microwaves, kitchen ranges, dishwashers, light bulbs and other common appliances.
  • Leadership in  Sustainability
    President Obama signed an Executive Order on Federal Sustainability, committing the Federal Government to lead by example and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by 2020, increase energy efficiency, and reduce fleet petroleum consumption.
  • Efficiency Standards for Cars and Trucks
    In May 2009, President Obama announced the first ever joint fuel economy/greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and trucks. In May 2010, President Obama created the first-ever efficiency and emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty cars and trucks
  • Making Homes More Energy Efficient
    Recovery Through Retrofit will eliminate key barriers in the home retrofit industry by providing consumers with access to straightforward information about their home’s energy use, promoting innovative financing options to reduce upfront costs, and developing national standards to ensure that workers are qualified and consumers benefit from home retrofits.

Climate Change

No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. This is a global problem, and the Obama Administration is committed to leading the charge to reduce the dangerous pollution that causes global warming, and to make the investments in the clean energy technology that will power sustainable growth in the future.

Our Environment

The Obama Administration is committed to protecting our country’s air, water, and land. From restoring ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay and the Everglades , to reducing the impacts of mountaintop mining, we are bringing together Federal agencies to tackle our biggest environmental challenges.

  • Protecting our Oceans
    The Interagency Task Force on Ocean Policy is charged with developing a recommendation for a national policy that ensures protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes. It will also recommend a framework for improved stewardship, and effective coastal and marine spatial planning. 
  • Land Conservation
    President Obama in March 2009 signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (P.L. 111‐11), the most extensive expansion of land and water conservation in more than a generation. In April, 2010, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and to reconnect Americans to the outdoors.  
  • Restoring our Ecosystems
    President Obama established the Louisiana-Mississippi Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Working Group in October 2009 to improve Federal coordination of restoration activities within the Louisiana and Mississippi coastal regions.  In response to the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus is developing a plan to restore the Gulf Ecosystem, which will be informed by the Working Group’s March 2010 Roadmap for Restoring Ecosystem Resiliency and Sustainability as well as input from local residents, elected officials and leading scientists and conservationists. 
  • Renewing the Federal Commitment to California's Bay Delta
    On December 22, 2009, the Administration released an Interim Federal Action Plan for the California Bay Delta that outlines near-term actions to restore the California Bay Delta and a reinvigorated Federal-state partnership. 
  • Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration
    On May 12, 2010, Obama Administration Officials released a new Federal strategy for the Chesapeake region, focused on protecting and restoring the environment in communities throughout the 64,000-square-mile watershed and in its thousands of streams, creeks and rivers.  
  • Great Lakes Restoration
    In February 2009, President Obama proposed $475 million for a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the most significant investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. In February 2010, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson released an Action Plan, which covers FY 2010 through 2014, and lays out the most urgent threats facing the Great Lakes and sets out goals, objectives and key actions over the next five years to help restore the lakes. 
  • Mercury
    The United States played a leading role in crafting a global, legally-binding agreement to limit the mercury emissions into the environment leading to an agreement on February 20, 2009, among more than 140 nations to negotiate a treaty to reduce mercury emissions globally, which they hope to conclude in 2013. 
  • Reduce Environmental Impacts of Mountaintop Coal Mining
    Through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by EPA, the Department of the Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers on June 11, 2009, Federal agencies have taken action to strengthen oversight and regulation, and minimize adverse environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining in the six Appalachian states of Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. 
  • National Environmental Policy Act
    On February 18, 2010, the White House Council on Environmental Quality proposed four steps to modernize and reinvigorate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in conjunction with its 40th Anniversary. These measures will enhance the quality of public involvement in governmental decisions relating to the environment, increase transparency and ease implementation.