Obama’s State of Union Address Avoids Touchy Issues Like Oil & Gas

All in all the President’s State of the Union address last night was fairly lackluster and clearly avoided tackling some of the bigger topics that are at the forefront of American’s minds. The unusual co-mingling of Republicans and Democrats throughout the audience made for a much somber mood than in previous State of the Union addresses, although it did cut back on some of the insane amounts of standing ovations and cheers.

State of Union Address responseTo me the speech was so broad that its intent seemed to gloss over the actual state of our Union and just try to say something nice about what the future could be – not the present.

It was amazing to me that he devoted so much time to stating his specific goals for clean energy, while clearly leaving out any reference to what’s going to keep America’s energy running until we reach that magical “one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”

While I am in no way a hater of the environment and do think that clean energy has its place in America’s future, President Obama’s description of America’s scientists dreaming up ways to use “sunshine and water to fuel our cars” fell flat and made me chuckle. Can anyone else picture them drawing rainbows at the same time? OK, enough silly daydreams.

President Obama’s pointed challenge to come up with enough bright minds and incentives to get the clean energy sources he so desperately wants attached to his name left no doubt to what he thinks of our oil and gas industry in this country. Here’s what he said last night regarding our industry and some things he didn’t have to say.

“We need to reinvent our energy policy. I offer a challenge to America’s scientists and engineers. If you can assemble teams with the best minds in your fields and focus on the hardest problems of clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo projects of our time,” President Obama said towards the beginning of his address.

“With enough research and incentives we can break our dependence on oil with bio-fuels. I challenge us to be the first country to have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”

I do find the idea of electric vehicles fascinating, but because of their higher price due to the battery cost and that you can only drive shorter ranges currently without needing to recharge, I’m not as optimistic as the President in his goal. I don’t think Americans will adopt the electric car with open arms, no matter how devoted they are to protecting the environment, until our economy is fully recovered and rising again – which I don’t see necessarily happening in four years.

The country is going to have a much harder time than the President anticipates breaking from their love of gasoline-fueled vehicles. Even with more car manufacturers in America adopting plans for electric vehicles, modest estimates don’t even allow for very many cars to actually be produced and sold until late 2012 – giving only two short years to significantly boost production and sway Americans that electric cars are the real deal.

President Obama then went on to discuss how to pay for these great incentives he would be coming up with for America’s best and brightest: “We will pay for it by asking Congress to eliminate the billions of taxpayer’s dollars we are giving to the oil companies. In case you haven’t noticed, they are doing just fine without our help.”

I understand the President wanting to cut back spending somewhere and needing an easy target such as the oil and gas industry. What I don’t think he realizes he is doing, or perhaps it is intentional because he clearly doesn’t care much for our industry, is that by putting a target on the large oil and gas companies’ backs such as Exxon, BP, etc. that take in billions of dollars in revenue, he’s also lumping all the other oil and gas companies across the country – large and small – into the same group thus hindering their ability to prosper by cutting funding and creating regulation after regulation with less than stellar committee choices.

Whether you love the oil and gas industry or not, it is still a driving force in this country’s economy and it is going to remain that way for awhile – no matter how hard the government tries to regulate and slow it down.

Here is how the President ended his bit on energy in America: “Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s. Let’s set a new goal that by 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.

“Some people like wind, solar, nuclear energy. Some like clean coal and natural gas. I say we need them all and we need Republicans and Democrats to work together to make it happen.”

From this statement I gathered that the President has no intentions of increasing production of oil domestically in order to reduce our foreign dependency – like some in the industry were hoping he’d address last night.

Indeed it seems that this President is hell-bent on clean energy and clean energy only, no matter what the cost to Americans may be.

I clearly wasn’t impressed with the speech last night and am interested in how his slightly ridiculous goals in all areas pan out. What are your thoughts? Am I wrong? Let me know what you thought after watching the State of the Union address last night.

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