Obama touts clean energy in Pennsylvania

April 6, 2011 at 6:30 PM
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FAIRLESS HILLS, Pa., April 6 (UPI) -- As the U.S. government edges closer to running out of gas, President Obama Wednesday pushed his alternative energy plan at a wind turbine plant in Pennsylvania.

A stopgap measure keeping the government operational expires Friday. Obama warned Congress Wednesday a shutdown would hurt the economic recovery and that he doesn't "want to see Washington politics stand in the way of American progress."

In Washington, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, derided Obama for being away from Washington while the crisis was brewing.

"We haven't seen anything except protection of the status quo … and that is simply unacceptable," Hensarling said.

Obama was at the Gamesa Technical Corp. in Fairless Hills, Pa., a wind-turbine factory, to push his administration's goal to reduce U.S. oil imports by a third by 2025 and to use clean sources to get 80 percent of the nation's electricity by 2035.

"This is the future of American energy," he said of the facility's product.

Contrary to what naysayers say, U.S. oil production had never been higher than now, Obama said. However, the country doesn't have enough reserves to "drill our way out of the problem."

Obama said his clean energy plan outlined last week will help the United States secure its energy future.

"It's a plan that says we're not going to play the usual Washington politics that have prevented progress on energy for decades," Obama said. "I want to have a comprehensive energy strategy that can help us move forward. And that means we've got to pursue every breakthrough, every renewable resource, every technology, every approach to change the way we produce and use energy."

Obama said his plan wouldn't draw 100 percent agreement, "but we should agree on some basic things."

"We should be able to agree on developing clean energy and reducing our dependence on foreign oil," he said. "We should be able to agree that we need to invest in things like our roads and our bridges and our infrastructure -- because we used to have the best infrastructure in the world, and we don't right now; other countries have gone past us. And if we were investing in our infrastructure we'd be putting more people to work."

Gamesa projected its U.S. sales will increase an average of 15 percent through 2013. Sales to China will increase 20 percent, India 166 percent and Central and South America 50 percent, the company says. European sales will drop 20 percent.

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