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Obama promotes clean energy

  |   Jan. 28, 2011 at 2:24 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- As U.S. Barack President Obama seeks to build momentum for clean energy policies proposed in his State of the Union address he faces mixed reaction to his plan.

He proposed that by 2035, 80 percent of America's electricity would come from clean energy sources.

"The president got it right," said Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke on her blog. "Nothing's more urgent than creating American jobs and protecting our health. The best way to do that is to invest in a clean energy future that makes our workers more competitive, our companies stronger, our country more secure and all of us healthier."

But oil and gas industry trade groups were critical of Obama's plan, which calls for the elimination of tax incentives for the oil and gas industry, with the revenue to be used to develop clean energy technologies.

"The president's massive tax hike proposal ... would cripple our industry's ability to compete, leaving struggling American consumers more vulnerable to unstable energy prices at the pump and in their homes, and deepening our nation's dependence on often unfriendly region's of the world to fuel our economy," said Bruce Vincent, chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, in a statement.

Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, referred to the president's address Tuesday as "a missed opportunity," noting that Obama "was silent on one of the best ways to create jobs: allow more energy development."

In his address, Obama also included controversial energy technologies such as natural gas, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage under the "clean" umbrella.

Wednesday, the president and key members of his administration had set out to different parts of the nation to build support for the 80 percent goal Obama had proposed in his speech the previous night, The New York Times reports.

At Orion Energy Systems in Manitowoc, Wis., a manufacturer of efficient commercial lighting and solar photovoltaic systems, the president said, "We need to get behind innovation. That's how we'll meet the goal I set last night and make sure 80 percent of America's electricity comes from clean energy sources by 2035."

Vice President Joe Biden visited an electric car battery plant owned by Ener1 Inc. in Greenfield, Ind. to promote Obama's aim to have 1 million low-emission cars on the road by 2015.

And Energy Secretary Steven Chu, speaking from an online town hall meeting, said that nuclear, nuclear, hydropower, natural gas and renewable energy now accounts for about 40 percent of the nation's electricity -- about halfway toward Obama's goal of 80 percent.

"So if you put it in that context, is it ambitious? Yes," Chu said. "Is it over the top, we can't achieve that? No. We can achieve that."

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