Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich recently falsely accused the Obama administration of "waging a war on American energy." In fact, the Obama administration has invested in domestic energy production and has made historic efforts to reduce American dependence on foreign oil.
Fox Contributor Gingrich Smears Obama Admin As "Waging A War On American Energy"
Gingrich Falsely Claims "This Administration Is Waging A War On American Energy," Shills For "Drill Here, Drill Now" Policy. During the January 18 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Gingrich railed against the Obama administration's energy policies to claim that the administration "is waging a war on American energy." From the show:
GINGRICH: On the other hand, if the president simply went back to something you [host Sean Hannity] and I helped start a few years ago, drill here, drill now, pay less. If you allowed the people of Louisiana, where the Governor Jindal wants to drill, where the people want to drill, they want the jobs. I was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina the other day -- they want the jobs. The people of Virginia want the jobs.
The fact is, you could have a very robust energy industry in the United States. You could, say, keep about $400 billion a year here at home. You could have a lower price of gasoline, a lower price of energy in general. We'd be better off for it in national security. Our economy would be better off.
But that requires a totally different attitude than the kind of big government, anti-business, anti-American energy attitude. You know, this administration is waging a war on American energy, and it's hurting all of us. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/18/11]
But Obama Admin Has Invested In Domestic Energy Production And Helped Reduce Dependence On Foreign Oil
Stimulus Act Invested Over $90 Billion In Clean Energy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) invested more than $90 billion in clean energy initiatives. From the 2010 Economic Report of The President:
The Recovery Act is investing in 56 projects and activities that are related to transitioning the economy to clean energy. Forty-five are spending provisions with a total appropriation of $60.7 billion, and another 11 are tax incentives that the Office of tax Analysis estimates will cost $29.5 billion through fiscal year 2019, for a total investment of over $90 billion. [Economic Report of the President, pg. 245, whitehouse.gov, accessed 1/19/11]
Stimulus Helped Increase U.S. Solar Panel Manufacturing Industry. ARRA boosted the growth of the U.S. solar panel industry through tax credits and loan guarantees. From an August 2010 White House report on the stimulus:
Domestic manufacturing capacity for solar photovoltaic (PV) modules - the panels that convert sunlight into electricity - is forecast to grow from less than one GW per year in 2008 to nearly four GW per year in 2012. The U.S. share of global manufacturing capacity is expected to grow from over eight percent in 2008 to over 14 percent in 2012. [The Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy Through Innovation, pg. 20, whitehouse.gov, August 2010]
U.S. Wind Energy Capacity In 2009 Broke All Previous Records With Help From Stimulus. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the U.S. wind industry "broke all previous records" for capacity to generate wind energy "by installing close to 10,000 megawatts of new generating capacity." AWEA's 2009 year end market report credits "Recovery Act incentives" for this record increase. From the report:
The U.S. wind industry broke all previous records by installing close to 10,000 megawatts of new generating capacity in 2009 thanks to Recovery Act incentives. The total installed capacity in the U.S. is now over 35,000 MW. In 2009, 38 manufacturing facilities were brought online, announced or expanded. [AWEA, awea.org, January 2010]
Stimulus Invested In U.S. Electric Car And Battery Industry. ARRA also invested $2 billion in domestic production of electric cars and their components. From the August 2010 White House report:
Electric cars need batteries and drive components that are in short supply in the U.S. To stimulate their production, over $2 billion in Recovery Act funding is being invested in companies like A123 and EnerDel, supporting 30 factories to produce the advanced batteries and electric drive components necessary to power the electric-drive vehicles of the future. In 2009, the U.S. had only two factories manufacturing advanced vehicle batteries and produced less than two percent of the world's advanced vehicle batteries. By 2012, thanks in part to the Recovery Act, the 30 factories mentioned above will be online. By 2015, when these factories reach scale, they will have the capacity to produce enough batteries and components to support up to 500,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. From a negligible portion of the world's advanced battery manufacturing today, U.S. production capacity for advanced vehicle batteries will amount to more than 20 percent of global production capacity estimated to be online in 2012. [The Recovery Act: Transforming the American Economy Through Innovation, whitehouse.gov, August 2010, emphasis added]
An August 2009 New York Times article noted that the $2.4 billion grant program would stimulate "domestic production of [electric car] batteries," the vast majority of which are currently made in Japan. From the article:
A $2.4 billion grant program has renewed hope that a U.S. industry in electric cars and the batteries to propel them won't be hopelessly stuck behind foreign competitors.
The grants, whose recipients were announced yesterday, were billed as the largest auto-battery investment ever. The funds will be split among 48 projects throughout the supply chain, from developing batteries to building manufacturing plants to demonstrating actual vehicles.
Observers hailed the grants as a "down payment" for an industry that, in truth, isn't too far behind its overseas rivals and that could make a profound reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Currently, the U.S. industry sources many of its parts from abroad. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, announcing one grant in North Carolina, said Japan produces 99 percent of the batteries for the hybrid cars on U.S. roads.
American automakers want more domestic production of these batteries, since that would allow them to cut costs. But battery makers have said they can't scale up production without a solid supply chain -- building not just batteries, but also the motors, wiring and other parts that make an electric car work, in the United States.
The federal grants will aim to crack that impasse: While companies will receive federal funding, most will have to match the grant with their own spending, dime for dime. [The New York Times, 8/6/09]
Obama Promoted Increased Natural Gas Drilling In the U.S. At a press conference following the November 2010 elections, President Obama indicated interest in developing American natural gas resources, saying the issue could be an area of compromise between him and Republican leaders. A New York Times article about the remarks said the president was likely referring to "vast new sources of shale gas in Pennsylvania, Texas, and their neighboring states." From the article:
President Obama's newfound interest in expanded natural gas drilling yesterday surprised many on all sides of the drilling debate, from environmentalists to drillers and even the coal industry.
Obama's remarks seemed to refer to vast new sources of shale gas in Pennsylvania, Texas and their neighboring states. Improvements in "hydraulic fracturing" technology have allowed production from formations under those states previously thought to be too expensive to exploit (E&ENews PM, Nov. 3).
"We've got, I think, broad agreement that we've got terrific natural gas resources in this country," Obama said when he was pressed for issues on which he could compromise with Republican leaders. "Are we doing everything we can to develop those?"
[Energy In Depth spokesman Chris] Tucker said Obama's remarks were in line with the actions of some of his Cabinet departments.
"The president's remarks yesterday fit perfectly with a State Department that is actively looking to export the shale revolution globally, an Energy Department that views shale as a fuel with enormous potential for our future and an EPA that has consistently stated that the technology needed to produce shale gas is safe," Tucker said. [The New York Times, 11/4/2010]