WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Since Congress hasn't acted to set a clean energy standard to spur innovation, U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday he would step in.
"The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change," Obama said in his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress, "but there's no reason why Congress shouldn't at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation.
"So far, you haven't acted," Obama said. "Well, tonight, I will."
He said he directed his administration to allow development of clean energy "on enough public land to power 3 million homes."
He said the Defense Department, "the world's largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history, with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year."
Obama said he directed officials to open more than 75 percent of potential offshore oil and gas resources to help spur American-made energy.
He called on Congress to send him several energy-related measures, which he said would save money and energy.
"Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings," Obama said. "Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them. Send me a bill that creates these jobs."
Domestic oil production is the highest it's been in eight years, he said, noting that the country relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.
But with only 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, oil isn't enough, Obama said.
"This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy, a strategy that's cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs," he said.
Turning to natural gas, Obama said his administration would take "every possible action" to develop this energy safely.
"Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade," he said. "And I'm requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk."
Developing natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and less expensive, "proving that we don't have to choose between our environment and our economy," Obama said.
He noted that federal investment in renewable energy use has nearly doubled, creating thousands of jobs.
Concerning shale gas, Obama said experience has shown that payoffs on public investments in the technology used in developing the resource don't always come right away because technologies don't pan out or company fail.
"But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy," Obama said. "I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here."
He called for an end of the "tax payer subsidy" to the oil industry "that's rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising."
"Pass clean energy tax credits," Obama urged lawmakers. "Create these jobs.
"Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy," he said. "So here's a proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them."
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