President Obama has already deployed billions of dollars for major cutting-edge clean tech research projects, so the $2 billion over ten years is not an astronomical figure. However, it does suggest that the President is serious about weaning the nation off fossil fuels and transitioning to cleaner alternatives.
One of the more interesting aspects of the trust is the fact that it will be funded by oil and gas profits through a designated tax that applies only to their operations on public lands.
Speaking at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, Obama said the US risks falling behind countries that are increasing their support for reducing energy usage and finding cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels.
“We can’t afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races forward…Few areas hold more promise for creating good jobs and growing our economy than how we use American energy,” Obama said.
It is not certain that this funding mechanism will be embraced by obstructionist Republicans. Nonetheless, there is a precedent for GOP support as this kind of funding approach was supported by Republicans four years ago. In 2009, to counter the Democrats climate-change legislation, John Boehner introduced an energy bill that would have directed money from oil and gas lease sales to pay for clean-energy programs.
If Republicans can put the national interest ahead of their partisan preoccupations, this trust will help wean America off fossil fuels, reduce GHGs and enhance US competitiveness in the global energy sector.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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