President’s April First Clarification on Offshore Drilling and Energy Policy
Early this morning we received this advance copy of the opening comments that President Obama will give at a press briefing late this afternoon. I’m sure you’ll feel relieved.
April 1, 2010: White House Rose Garden
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much for coming out on this beautiful day (Applause.) Please have a seat. My speech yesterday that announced the opening up our coastal waters to offshore drilling drew a great deal of heat. Today, I am here to clear up any confusion I may have caused. Yesterday’s speech was meant to be an April Fools Joke. As a candidate I promised to safeguard the environment, and I mean to do so. Unfortunately, the White House schedulers thought yesterday was April first. Apparently they thought that March only had 30 days.
So today, I am proud to announce our real energy policy – no jokes about it. Let me say it loudly and unequivocally.
- There will be no additional offshore drilling for oil during my administration. The risks are much greater than the benefits.
- My announced multi-billion dollar loan guarantees for nuclear power was another bad joke. Lindsey, my good friend from S. Carolina, you wouldn’t want to mess up Myrtle Beach, would you?
- Clean coal is another bad joke and is off the table. No more mountain-top mining. Senator Byrd – you’ll have all the wind power you want for those long ridges.
- Gas mileage for vehicles – that wasn’t part of the April Fools Day fiasco — they stay.
Economics: Millions of jobs in our coastal states depend on tourism and fishery. No one will eat fish that tastes like a can of Mobil 5W30. And no one likes to sun themselves on a beach covered with oil goo. Then there is nuclear power. If the banks won’t provide the loans for nukes why should the tax payers? These things are expensive, take years to build and if there’s an accident who shells out the billions to clean up the mess? Sounds like too big to fail to me.
The Environment: Spending so much on coal, oil and nuclear simply encourages their use; we build the very parts of the economy that are most unsustainable. And in doing so we sap vital resources from wind and solar energy that contribute to the solution of our environmental problems. Let me say something else about nuclear power. As we all know, the high level wastes stay deadly for hundreds of centuries. I asked our Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to see if he could find a governor who wanted a permanent nuclear repository in their state. He told me he got a few unnamed takers, but only if we agreed to bail out their deficits for the next ten thousand years.
Then there is an issue that not many talk about. My good friends at the Southwest Research and Information Center have reminded me that hundreds of abandoned uranium mines have not been cleaned up and present health risks in many Navajo communities. In addition to this, Navajo communities now have to face proposed new uranium solution mining that threatens the only source of drinking water for 10,000 to 15,000 people living in the Eastern Navajo Agency in northwestern New Mexico. Besides my daughters made me watch Avatar. (See http://serc.carleton.edu/research_education/nativelands/navajo/environmental.html)
And on biofuels. Biofuels won’t work if they require huge government subsidies, and if they require massive application of fertilizers and pesticides that harm the environment – or if they promote the destruction of rain forests and other critical ecosystems.
National Security: Our generals keep telling us that our dependence on foreign sources of oil is a threat to our national security. I share their call for energy independence. We all want it. But let’s talk about real energy independence. Do we want to shift our dependence to large multi-national corporations who are only interested in big centralized solutions that suck capital out of our communities and our domestic economy? Surely it would be better to invest in energy solutions that spread the wealth to communities across the country. Solutions like energy efficiency which lowers costs for families and businesses; wind power – there are lots of family farms in windy places. The experts our telling us that our nation is beginning to lag behind in the development of renewables; we are losing out to Europe and China and we are losing out important opportunities to create millions of jobs. The bottom line: without energy security, there is no national security.
Thank you very much; I will now take your questions.
President: Yes, Sam
Sam Donaldson: Mr. President, Happy April Fools Day.
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