Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Obama's Energy Address in Las Vegas

We expected that nuclear energy policy would be in the mix during this presidential campaign, we just didn't expect it to be so soon. From Senator Obama's just-concluded energy address to 100 invited guests at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, NV:

Meanwhile, the oil companies already own drilling rights to 68 million acres of federal lands, onshore and offshore, that they haven’t touched. 68 million acres that have the potential to nearly double America’s total oil production, and John McCain wants to give them more. Well that might make sense in Washington, but it doesn’t make sense for America. In fact, it makes about as much sense as his proposal to build 45 new nuclear reactors without a plan to store the waste some place other than right here at Yucca Mountain. Folks, these are not serious energy policies. They are not new energy policies. And they are certainly not the kind of energy policies that will give families the relief they need or our country the oil independence we must have.
Update: The full text of the speech is now available here.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is exactly the type of response that I would expect from him. What is his solution? He does not have one. Let's hear some proposals from him. How might we cut greenhouse gases AND meet the domestic demand for power to keep our economy rolling, especially if we are to move toward plug-in cars? Conservation, wind, and solar are not going to get us there from here. Obama sounds like more of the no solutions platform.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it is a good thing that energy policy is getting this much attention as it is an area that has been needing it for sometime.

On the other hand I am disappointed that nuclear could turn out to be such a divisive issue.

Of course, it makes perfect sense for Mr. Obama to focus on this, perhaps he wants to take attention away from his "clean" coal roots or the fact that unlike McCain he has made few, if any, substantive energy policy statements. He was also in Nevada . . .

But I believe that people can ignore nuclear at their own peril and that if nothing else they will come around after seeing that it is just not possible to get where we want to go without it.

Anonymous said...

Uh, what are you talking about? Obama gave an entire speech outlining his energy policy.

Sitting there and saying "where are HIS ideas!?" is lazy and a cheap attempt to "win" the argument, especially when you can find his proposals on his web site as well as several speeches specifically on energy policy.

Anonymous said...

The idiot that said Obama sounds like a no solutions platform is clearly deluded and 'stoooopid' enough to think that the text quoted by the author is all of Obama's speech.
Campaigns are about proposals and counterproposals (guess what..thats why they are called campaigns) and he was basically picking holes in McsameBush's proposals while giving his own.

Anonymous said...

Ok Obamamaniacs, as far as I know the only major things from Obama have been:

Stricter GHG controls than Lieberman-Warner proposed, and stricter than McCain would.

Windfall profits tax for oil companies.

25% renewable portfolio standard or equivalent.

And plenty of pork for ethanol. And clean coal.

So maybe some of these are substantive statements, but to me they seemed far too vague. It sounds good to say you would support an 80% reduction from 1990 levels by 2050, but what is the point if you can't/won't get there with the programs you endorse.

Anonymous said...

Did any of you read the speech?

Obama's policy is: (1) increase CAFE standards, (2) invest more money in renewables, and (3) charge oil companies more money to lease and explore federal lands. 1 and 2 will do nothing in the short term to reduce energy prices. Increased fuel standards might be a good idea, but they are somewhat unnecessary in a world of $4 gas. And investing more money in unproven renewables, while a good idea, is kind of a funny solution from a guy who talks about how it is speculative to think that increased drilling will reduce oil prices.

More troublingly, though, Obama shows that he has no clue how oil exploration and production works. He wants to charge oil companies additional fees if they lease land and then don't end up producing oil from it. The problem, though, is that not all land has oil. And not all oil can be feasibly and economically produced. So oil companies have to take out leases that end up being fruitless. Obama thinks that they should be punished for this, effectively increasing the costs of future oil exploration and production. Absolutely brilliant.

KB said...

@ anonymous (3:44 pm).
I've updated the original post with a link to the full text, which is now available online.

Anonymous said...

To the very first commenter: There is a link to the full text of Obama's speech on energy right underneath the above article. The proposals you say Obama has neglected to elaborate upon can be found within the transcript of the speech. If you would like more information, how about going to Barack Obama's official website. The burden is upon you to read and look up the information you are seeking. To say that the information is not there when you obviously did not even read the speech is like giving a critique on a book that you didn't even bother to read. It just doesn't fly.

Anonymous said...

Clusa - Obama is utterly clueless. he presents proposals that have no chance in hell of working and criticizes those that will have an impact. To think the Dem's nominated this bozo - unreal

Anonymous said...

This coming from a man who wants gas to stay expensive. Go figure.
And he does realize that the "waste" from nuclear plants can be recycled and reused right?

Anonymous said...

Nuclear energy makes sense! Obama talks about solar energy in cloudy Germany, but he never bothered to check where oil-less France gets its electricity: 80% from Nuclear! By the way, it doesn't emit CO2 either, for those worried about Global Gore-ing.

Obama's push for wind and solar power without nuclear power betrays his ignorance of efficiency and his reliance on wishful thinking--if he wishes it should be done, it must be done, and who cares about the facts?

Obama says we can't drill our way out--YES WE CAN!!! McCain '08!

Luke said...

Regarding the official Obama policies on energy, and nuclear energy in particular, the domestic use of nuclear power, he has expressed willingness to explore the expanded use of nuclear power.

These are really just sound bites of official Obama policy... I leave it up to you all to individually interpret them.

Obama has expressed partial support: "...it is reasonable – and realistic – for nuclear power to remain on the table for consideration."

During the same Senate Committee statement, he cautioned that keeping nuclear power on the table is only possible "if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is vigilant in its mission."

I really don't see where there is any really huge room for improvement with NRC oversight.

Barack Obama declared himself flatly opposed to building a nuclear waste repository in Nevada.

He has stated that that "We need better long-term strategies for storing and securing nuclear waste and for ensuring the safe operation of nuclear power plants. How we develop these strategies is a major priority for me."

So, of course, one has to ask, what's wrong with the existing long-term disposal strategies?

Personally, there's only one thing better than deep geological disposal of used fuel, and that's recycling and efficient re-use of that fuel.

Does this mean that Obama is going to support reprocessing in the United States? Somehow I don't think so, but one has to ask just what his alternatives really are, if he has them.

Gekkobear said...

So solar is a cheap alternative to oil. And how much of our electricity is produced by oil?

Oh, almost none. Well, we can at least change over existing cars to electricity without any real effort.

Oh, we can't. Well that's a failed proposal. But we need a regressive tax, and to force people to buy new cars. That'll be a cheap easy solution in a faltering economy.

But solar and wind power are great. We almost had two new reneweable energy electricity plants in Kansas. But we don't.

We could only have afforded them if we'd also built the two new Coal power plants to justify the cost of transmission lines and cover the downtime electricity needs (as batteries don't really cover it without significantly increasing the costs).

But of course coal is bad, so they got stopped. And because of that the renewables aren't cost effective, so they got stopped too.

But obviously we could easily afford it if someone would pony up the 100 millionish needed for the transmission lines to get the electricity out.

So all we need is 100 million dollars and we can have cheap electricity too.

Hmm, maybe not "cheap". But it'll be Govt. money, not added onto my bills. And as we all know, Government money comes from rainbows and unicorns, so it really is free.

Needless to say, Obama and I went to the same economy classes.

Anonymous said...

Luke @ June 24, 2008 9:35 PM: Does this mean that Obama is going to support reprocessing in the United States? Somehow I don't think so, but one has to ask just what his alternatives really are, if he has them.

Actually, I do think so. Yes, this is exactly what it means.

Heck, even Senator Barbara Boxer is on the record saying that the French are doing it right. Yes, we're talking about my beloved California senator : Freakin' Tree Huggin' Barb!

And if you say France, you say reprocessing.

Anonymous said...

Support a Democrat for President, and you'll be voting against nuclear power.

Support a Republican and you'll be supporting nuclear power.

You can quibble over all the little nonsense details in an Obama or McCain speech all you want.

The fact is that Obama will appoint more anti-nukes like Jackzo to the NRC and will appoint an anti-nuke to head the DOE.

McCain won't.

It's that simple.

You guys here can be sick and tired of Bush all you want (yet I'm not - I LOVE our President), but Bush was successful in helping to provide impetus for nuclear's new growth in the US, and his predecessor, Clinton, was a dismal failure.

Now if you guys want to be single issue guys and consider only nuke power here at this forum, then the choice is clear - McCain or nothing.

Of course, there are many more reasons than that to vote for McCain, but they have to do with morality and life, not nuke power, so we won't discuss them lest we offend those who want license to do whatever they wish with no responsibility, no accountability (the short term for this species of creature is called "liberal").

Hmmmmmm....that's like Obama's no solution proposals: "I want everything I want without any consequence, and responsibility, any accountability."

The country will be darn foolish to vote him in. But we've voted for foolish candidates before (e.g., William Jefferson Clinton and Jimmy Carter). So did the Romans millennia ago. Clinton's morality, by the way, was right up there with the best of the Roman heads of state. But then again, this forum isn't about morality (a battle Dems lose), but about nuke power (another area that Dems lose in). Can you spell Chappaquiddick?

Anonymous said...

nuclear's new growth? Hah! How many decades has it been since the last plant was built? Presidents and presidential pretenders can go on all they like, but they will never be able to fight through all the NIMBY morons that are convinced it will Chyrnobl any minute. Building a uranium reprocessing plant is a great idea, but fort you have to force states to allow spent fuel to be transported through them, otherwise we just end up with a multi-acre ISFSI at every plant in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who parades around ethanol as an alternative fuel should not be president, or even senator. They should be a farmer, because they are the only people whom ethanol production benefits.

Saying ethanol is the future is the equivalent to slapping a E85 sticker on a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid and calling it "green". Absolutely ridiculous.

I was all for Obama in the beginning until I learned more about his energy policies. Let me lay out my take on his logic. We can't build plants until we find a solution to the waste, but we shouldn't put the waste in a repository like Yucca mountain -- so that leaves only one option for nuclear to exist: a closed fuel cycle.

You actually expect a president who mildly supports nuclear energy to implement a closed fuel cycle? Dream on. He is either incredibly ignorant to nuclear energy, or amazingly deceitful in playing both sides until election day.

Anonymous said...

Gas is $4 a gallon for a reason, because we've created a lifestyle of consumption that cannot be sustained with non-renewable fuel sources.
OIL is no longer a viable option to meet our energy demands. Our country needs diversify our energy investments so that we have a number of options, not just one. We have too much industriousness, creativity and innovation to settle on big oil and coal.
Obama's plan is different in that it focuses on INVESTMENTS over time, not short term solutions that sweep piles of poop under the rug for someone else to fix later.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Obama cribbed his plan from the NRDC, Sierra Club, and Greenpeace. It's the same ol' same ol'. The only thing new is the idea of shifting money from energy producers to energy consumers, which might make his voters feel good, but certainly won't increase energy supplies or lower prices (more likely, it'll have the opposite effect).

Still, if he wins, he'll have to govern, and then, as Schwarzenegger has discovered, he'll have to deal with reality.

We won't the "no solutions" plan isn't working until there are outright shortages e.g. rationing, rolling blackouts, etc. The next stage after that is the blame game, i.e. blame industry for the shortages and high prices, since government policy surely can't be responsible (we're getting a head start on this one). So OK, it could go as far as the government takes over the energy business completely, that still won't create more supply, so then what?

At that point, backs to the wall, the "no solutions" crowd will cast their lot with coal, as they appear to be doing in Germany, allowing a known problem (global warming) to get much worse in order to avoid a feared problem (nuclear waste).

Obama's playing straight from the old-school liberal book on this and most other issues - there's nothing new here despite all the "21rst century" talk. The sound bite "we can't drill our way out of this problem" is the same one the Democrats have been using for 20 years. Well Mr. Obama, we can't CAFE our way out of the problem either, yet no one's saying that's a bad idea. Will drilling take years to have an effect on prices? Um, and how long will it be before new CAFE standards have an effect? And when will someone in the press call him on these inconsistencies.

Chad said...

From Obama's energy plan

"Nuclear power represents more than 70 percent of our noncarbon generated electricity. It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power from the table. However, there is no future for expanded nuclear without first addressing four key issues: public right-to-know, security of nuclear fuel and
waste, waste storage, and proliferation."

I don't see him blocking and nuclear efforts. Instead, I think he is telling the generally anti nuclear left that there are these things we need to solved, and is just not also saying, btw, these things are really already solved.

Anonymous said...

Look where he gave this speech. He's just pandering. It's shameless pandering. Obama knows he needs Nevada's electoral votes, so he's saying what they want to hear (no Yucca Mountain). For all his claims about being "different" and "change", when you get right down to it, Obama doesn't offer anything different than any other politician. He's going to say whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear. Any claims to the contrary are, well, as we've seen, lies.

TFD said...

From the post above... "Obama's plan is different in that it focuses on INVESTMENTS over time, not short term solutions that sweep piles of poop under the rug for someone else to fix later."

His opposition to Yucca Mountain is ABSOLUTELY leaving the disposal issue for someone else to fix later.

If he withdraws the Yucca license application from the NRC, as some Nevada papers say he has pledged to do, he will in fact make the situation far, far worse.

Annony Mouse said...

CAFE standards should have been tightened back around 1994 or so. Yes, I lay that at Bill Clinton's feet. He failed to take action when we had the prosperity to plan providentially for the future.

Nevertheless, I cannot vote for a Republican this year simply because my living standard has fallen too far under Bush. American workers' productivity has gone WAY up, while wages have stagnated and prices for food have gone up. I am being squeezed by this Republican economy and falling dollar, and I don't like this one bit!

As I watch the election, I will decide whether to reluctantly vote for Obama, or to vote for the Libertarian ticket. I agree with most here that Obama is weak on energy policy. McCain's _energy_ policy is better, but unfortunately I also need to consider quite a few other issues when voting. I will vote my conscience on the economy and civil liberties, as well as on foreign policy, the war etc.

If Obama messes up too badly, that means that I'll vote Libertarian. I wish Ron Paul was on the LP ticket.

There are obviously multiple "anonymous's" here, since there are several points of view present. It would be a bit less confusing if each adopted a "handle," even a silly one. :-)

KB said...

"There are obviously multiple "anonymous's" here, since there are several points of view present. It would be a bit less confusing if each adopted a "handle," even a silly one. "

We agree, annony mouse.

Ray Lightning said...

@luke and @anonymous-june24-9:35PM :

You are right on the point. Obama is for reprocessing nuclear waste and squeezing all the possible juice out of it.

He is for more nuclear research and investment (prototyping breeder reactors, molten salt reactors etc.) He is for increasing graduates of nuclear engineering.

He is against the construction of the inefficient LWRs which throw away 95% of the energy.

McCain is Mr.Establishment. There is an oil establishment and there is a nuclear establishment. McCain is rubbing his shoulders with both of them. Voting for McCain means continuation of the same idiotic policies.

Anonymous said...

I am getting my M.E. and going into the Nuclear engergy field. I fear Obama getting elected because I worry will there be job advancements if he gets in office. McCain has already introduced a policy to start the construction of 50 nuclear reactors and all Obama can say is nuclear is in consideration. Not only is he uneducated on this topic but he is in no hurry to jump to any kind of solution seeing how he has yet to really stand for anything this whole time. I would love to vote for Obama becuase I think this country needs change. Unfortunately one of the easiest energy solutions is Nuclear and it's like he's afraid of it. Someone please talk to him, or me and explain what it is he has against the energy efficient and environmetal friendly nuclear energy?