Obama eyeing deal on off-shore drilling

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins

The idea is that President Obama will ask Congress to use the profits from the leasing fees from existing off-shore for more spending on green energy projects. Obama will outline the proposal in a speech later today. The administration presumably believes the trade-off will both bring on board enough moderate Democrats and demonstrate a willingness to reach across the aisle to the Republicans.

The Hill reports:

Obama will make his pitch for the research fund at the Chicago-area Argonne National Laboratory, a facility that has been at the forefront of alternative vehicle technology.

It follows on his announcement of a $2 billion “Energy Security Trust” in his State of the Union address last month.

White House officials framed the trust as a way to wean the U.S. off oil and to reduce carbon emissions. They said the security trust is a major part of the president’s economic strategy of boosting high-tech manufacturing and innovation.

And they argued the fund would provide a pool of money for basic research traditionally underfunded by the private sector that could produce significant breakthroughs.

Obama also will likely champion the impact biofuel-, natural gas- and electricity-powered cars would have on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, aligning with recent comments on the need to combat climate change.

This idea is presumably a work-in-progress. Republicans are certain to ask for expanding the licensing as part of the deal. “The president has no intention of doing that, White House officials said in a Thursday media call,” according to the Hill.

The administration has lately given off some conflicting signals on where it standson some key environmental issues.


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Sean Higgins

Senior Writer
The Washington Examiner