News / Science & Technology

Obama Focuses on Energy Policy that Supports Research

U.S. President Barack Obama tours the Argonne National Lab near Chicago, March 15, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama tours the Argonne National Lab near Chicago, March 15, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama says he wants to reserve money made from oil to fund more research of advanced vehicle technology.

"Let's take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it toward research that can benefit the public, so that we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit," said President Obama.

Obama visited Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago Friday.  The lab was picked for its groundbreaking research on advanced car battery technology that reduces the need for oil and gas in automobiles.

White House officials say the president wants $2 billion over the next decade to research new ways to lower the cost of vehicles that run on non-oil fuel sources such as biofuels and electricity.

Obama said the plan was not just about saving both money and the environment, but about national security.  He said the U.S. reliance on oil makes the nation dependent on parts of the world that are often volatile.

The president praised Americans for being "poised to take control of our energy future," increasing oil production, natural gas production and renewable energy production while sending less carbon pollution into the environment than any time in nearly 20 years.  But he warned that, in order to stay ahead, America must continue energy research and development.

"And at a time when, every month you've got to replace your smart phone because something new has come up, imagine what that means when China, and Germany and Japan are all continuing to plump up their basic research and we're just sitting there doing nothing," said Obama. "We can't afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races forward."

Obama first mentioned an "Energy Security Trust" fund in his State of the Union address last month.  The plan requires approval by Congress, and some Republicans, including Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, have responded favorably to the idea of a research fund.

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