President Barack Obama’s effort to develop renewable power sources and persuade Congress to adopt a long-term energy policy will be priorities should he win a second term, his top climate and energy aide said.
Clean-energy programs and efficiency initiatives will be a focus for the president if he’s re-elected in November, Heather Zichal, Obama’s deputy assistant for energy and climate change, told reporters today in Washington.
“The big issue will remain engagement with Congress,” she said. “The president has talked continuously about the need for a long-term energy policy, and I think that will be something that he will obviously remain focused on in the second term.”
As a candidate in 2008, Obama pledged to create 5 million green jobs over 10 years by investing in renewable sources such as solar and wind power. He promoted alternatives to fossil fuels as a way to cut U.S. dependence on imported fuel. The 2009 economic-stimulus plan spent a record $90 billion on clean energy, creating 225,000 green jobs after one year, according to the White House.
Republicans have used U.S. support for Solyndra LLC, the solar-panel maker that collapsed two years after getting a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee, to depict Obama’s policies as a failure by meddling in the free market. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, said federal regulation of oil and gas limit U.S. energy development.
Zichal said the Interior Department is working on a “common-sense rule” to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. The proposal, which would require disclosure of chemicals used in fracking, can be revised with help from energy companies, in the way the Environmental Protection Agency revised standards in April to combat air pollution from drilling.
The EPA rule gave companies until 2015 to meet emission requirements, responding to industry opposition to a proposed 60-day deadline.