NPR Story
9:42 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

NW Groups Weigh In On Obama’s Energy, Environment Plans

Energy and the environment both got brief mentions President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The president spoke for 65 minutes, devoting about five of those minutes to energy and the environment. He pushed natural gas and solar power as ways to reduce carbon pollution as part of his “all of the above” energy strategy.

“Today, America is closer to energy independence than we have been in decades,” the president said near the beginning of his speech.

Obama’s energy strategy includes natural gas, a point that Northwest clean energy advocates weren’t happy about.

However, the groups did like that Obama also called for an end to $4 billion in fossil fuel tax subsidies. The president said that money could be invested in renewable energy, like solar power.

KC Golden is with Climate Solutions, based in Olympia, Wash. The non-profit organization advocates for wind, solar, and other forms of clean energy.

“It’s a two-for. The same money that’s contributing to the problem could be contributing to the solution,” Golden said.

Coal and oil industry groups slammed Obama’s call to end subsidies for fossil fuel production. They called for support of natural gas and coal-fired energy.

"In this evening's address, the President once again raised the long-discredited claim that oil and gas industries are receiving 'billions of dollars' in tax breaks, as though the standard business deductions afforded to countless other job creators in our economy - including renewable energy companies - are somehow undeserved or fraudulently claimed by the U.S. companies who pay more taxes than any other industry," said Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, in a statement.

Obama did not address the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. Nor did he get into specifics about how he might seek to combat climate change or shift subsidies from fossil fuels to clean energy generation.

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