In his first primetime address from the Oval Office, President Obama spoke to the nation on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on Tuesday. Click the red tabs to see expert commentary, background links and NewsHour video related to the speech. The text of the remarks below is as prepared for delivery and released by the White House.
Good evening. As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges. At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists. And tonight, I’ve returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens.
On April 20th, an explosion ripped through BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, about forty miles off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven workers lost their lives. Seventeen others were injured. And soon, nearly a mile beneath the surface of the ocean, oil began spewing into the water.
Because there has never been a leak of this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology. That is why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge – a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.
As a result of these efforts, we have directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology. In the coming days and weeks, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well. This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that is expected to stop the leak completely.
Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it is not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days. The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years.
But make no mistake: we will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever’s necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.
Tonight I’d like to lay out for you what our battle plan is going forward: what we’re doing to clean up the oil, what we’re doing to help our neighbors in the Gulf, and what we’re doing to make sure that a catastrophe like this never happens again.
First, the cleanup. From the very beginning of this crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the largest environmental cleanup effort in our nation’s history – an effort led by Admiral Thad Allen, who has almost forty years of experience responding to disasters. We now have nearly 30,000 personnel who are working across four states to contain and cleanup the oil. Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding in the Gulf. And I have authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast. These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the oil from coming ashore, clean beaches, train response workers, or even help with processing claims – and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.
Because of our efforts, millions of gallons of oil have already been removed from the water through burning, skimming, and other collection methods. Over five and a half million feet of boom has been laid across the water to block and absorb the approaching oil. We have approved the construction of new barrier islands in Louisiana to try and stop the oil before it reaches the shore, and we are working with Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida to implement creative approaches to their unique coastlines.
As the clean up continues, we will offer whatever additional resources and assistance our coastal states may need. Now, a mobilization of this speed and magnitude will never be perfect, and new challenges will always arise. I saw and heard evidence of that during this trip. So if something isn’t working, we want to hear about it. If there are problems in the operation, we will fix them.
But we have to recognize that despite our best efforts, oil has already caused damage to our coastline and its wildlife. And sadly, no matter how effective our response becomes, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done. That’s why the second thing we’re focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast.
You know, for generations, men and women who call this region home have made their living from the water. That living is now in jeopardy. I’ve talked to shrimpers and fishermen who don’t know how they’re going to support their families this year. I’ve seen empty docks and restaurants with fewer customers – even in areas where the beaches are not yet affected. I’ve talked to owners of shops and hotels who wonder when the tourists will start to come back. The sadness and anger they feel is not just about the money they’ve lost. It’s about a wrenching anxiety that their way of life may be lost.
I refuse to let that happen. Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness. And this fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent, third party.
Beyond compensating the people of the Gulf in the short-term, it’s also clear we need a long-term plan to restore the unique beauty and bounty of this region. The oil spill represents just the latest blow to a place that has already suffered multiple economic disasters and decades of environmental degradation that has led to disappearing wetlands and habitats. And the region still hasn’t recovered from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That’s why we must make a commitment to the Gulf Coast that goes beyond responding to the crisis of the moment.
I make that commitment tonight. Earlier, I asked Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, a former governor of Mississippi, and a son of the Gulf, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible. The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists, and other Gulf residents. And BP will pay for the impact this spill has had on the region.
The third part of our response plan is the steps we’re taking to ensure that a disaster like this does not happen again. A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe – that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken.
That was obviously not the case on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and I want to know why. The American people deserve to know why. The families I met with last week who lost their loved ones in the explosion – these families deserve to know why. And so I have established a National Commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place. Already, I have issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. I know this creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs, but for the sake of their safety, and for the sake of the entire region, we need to know the facts before we allow deepwater drilling to continue. And while I urge the Commission to complete its work as quickly as possible, I expect them to do that work thoroughly and impartially.
One place we have already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service. Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility – a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves. At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight. Oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors, and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations.
When Ken Salazar became my Secretary of the Interior, one of his very first acts was to clean up the worst of the corruption at this agency. But it’s now clear that the problems there ran much deeper, and the pace of reform was just too slow. And so Secretary Salazar and I are bringing in new leadership at the agency – Michael Bromwich, who was a tough federal prosecutor and Inspector General. His charge over the next few months is to build an organization that acts as the oil industry’s watchdog – not its partner.
One of the lessons we’ve learned from this spill is that we need better regulations better safety standards, and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk. After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but have less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean – because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.
For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we have talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. Time and again, the path forward has been blocked – not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.
The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.
We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny.
This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels will take some time, but over the last year and a half, we have already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry. As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels. Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient. Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that will someday lead to entire new industries.
Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of good, middle-class jobs – but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation – workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors. When I was a candidate for this office, I laid out a set of principles that would move our country towards energy independence. Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill – a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses.
Now, there are costs associated with this transition. And some believe we can’t afford those costs right now. I say we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy – because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater.
So I am happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party – as long they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels. Some have suggested raising efficiency standards in our buildings like we did in our cars and trucks. Some believe we should set standards to ensure that more of our electricity comes from wind and solar power. Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development – and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development.
All of these approaches have merit, and deserve a fear hearing in the months ahead. But the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is too big and too difficult to meet. You see, the same thing was said about our ability to produce enough planes and tanks in World War II. The same thing was said about our ability to harness the science and technology to land a man safely on the surface of the moon. And yet, time and again, we have refused to settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom. Instead, what has defined us as a nation since our founding is our capacity to shape our destiny – our determination to fight for the America we want for our children. Even if we’re unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don’t yet know precisely how to get there. We know we’ll get there.
It is a faith in the future that sustains us as a people. It is that same faith that sustains our neighbors in the Gulf right now.
Each year, at the beginning of shrimping season, the region’s fishermen take part in a tradition that was brought to America long ago by fishing immigrants from Europe. It’s called “The Blessing of the Fleet,” and today it’s a celebration where clergy from different religions gather to say a prayer for the safety and success of the men and women who will soon head out to sea – some for weeks at a time. The ceremony goes on in good times and in bad. It took place after Katrina, and it took place a few weeks ago – at the beginning of the most difficult season these fishermen have ever faced.
And still, they came and they prayed. For as a priest and former fisherman once said of the tradition, “The blessing is not that God has promised to remove all obstacles and dangers. The blessing is that He is with us always,” a blessing that’s granted “…even in the midst of the storm.”
The oil spill is not the last crisis America will face. This nation has known hard times before and we will surely know them again. What sees us through – what has always seen us through – is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it. Tonight, we pray for that courage. We pray for the people of the Gulf. And we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day. Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Kenneth Arnold is an independent oil industry consultant. He is a petroleum engineer with more than 40 years experience in the industry.
David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times and a regular commentator on the PBS NewsHour.
Eileen Claussen is the president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and Strategies for the Global Environment.
Kert Davies is the research director for Greenpeace USA.
Noah Hall is a professor of environmental law at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit
Mark Shields is a syndicated columnist and a regular commentator for the PBS NewsHour.
Gregory William Stone is the director of the Coastal Studies Institute at Louisiana State University and a professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences
Syndicated columnist Mark Shields told Judy Woodruff that it's an important distinction that President Barack Obama has chosen to give the speech from the solitude of the Oval Office.
"It's a more difficult speech to give than the State of the Union. He doesn't get the energy, the reaction, the cheers," Shields said.
Tom Bearden reported from Louisiana on April 30, a week after the spill, where a battered region watched as oil began moving closer to its shoreline.
Actually, Chu and the team of experts where not deployed immediately, but came on the scene, publicly at least, around May 12th, over two weeks after the rig exploded and then sank. Chu was most prominently shown to be involved (while not being put in front of cameras) during the failed top kill, which he was said to have called off in the end.
It seems to be putting a lot of “responsibility” on Chu and on the government for failure to cap the injured well for Obama to now say that he assembled the best and brightest immediately and they have failed to stop the gusher for two months. This is a different message than putting burden and blame on BP, who they have depended on to execute the technical operations to stem the flow.
Statements like this have a way of coming back to haunt people who make them. I hope the president is correct, but no one can be sure that the future enhancements will capture 90 percent. Perhaps we will be lucky and it will capture 100 percent. On the other hand we have not had much in the way of luck to date and perhaps it will only capture 75-85 percent.
Vast understatement here, “years and even generations” may be closer to accurate.
The president keeps coming back to this theme. As a general rule I agree with the president. However, shouldn’t we at least give BP credit for what they are already doing? Can’t we recognize that so far they have not even hinted that they would shirk their responsibility and have already spent over $1.5 billion in this effort? They are employing thousands of out-of-work fishermen and have written checks for millions to individuals and companies for consequential damages. They are standing up to their responsibilities and their hardworking staff should at least get some credit for what they are doing.
The president's delivery was "confident, clear, crisp." His "delivery and presence were quite strong, it's just the content that I found a little lacking."
Lots and lots of large numbers and yet the American people are still seeing the damage first hand on television in the oiled birds, sea turtles and beaches and marshes.
Effectively, he is saying we have made the largest effort in history and it has failed to contain the spill and stop it from coming ashore and spreading hundreds of miles. I don’t know if it can be shown that the effort is failing from lack of manpower; presumably BP is paying as many people as needed to do whatever is necessary to skim, sop and shovel up oil, right? Will thousands of National Guard troops will make much difference except for PR?
A compassionate account of what is actually happening from a socioeconomic and environmental perspective. Nevertheless, weak on the technical aspects of the response of the marine environment to the spill.
Gregory Stone, director of the Coastal Studies Institute at Louisiana State University emphasized his comments are based on scientific study:
The concept of building barrier islands along, at least the Louisiana coast, is not accurate, what has been proposed by several agencies, is very different, a suite of [sand] berms that interact with oceanographic and aeolian processes in a very different way. While I certainly support the concept of adding sediment to a sediment starved coast system, what the president did not mention, nor other advisory federal, state and local agencies have not pursued, is the potential negative impacts of dredging large volumes of material from offshore in the Gulf of Mexico in relatively shallow water, not to mention biological, ecological and impacts on fisheries.
From the oceanographic perspective, I can conclude that over a very short time period (months) sophisticated computational models can be used to ensure we secure scientific data to ensure that dredging large quantities from the bottom of the gulf of Mexico will not have deleterious effects on what the overall objective actually is, retarding infusion of oil laden waters into sensitive coastal environments.
The mere fact that we have entered the hurricane season suggests that the above mentioned concerns are exemplified and the potential dispersal of the oil spill when impacted by high energy waves, currents and increased wind speed are increased regarding dispersion of oil throughout the water column and on the surface. The president was clearly not advised on this, however the former remain a harsh reality and hopefully will secure attention.
From Louisiana Public Broadcasting: Oil Spill Impacts Shrimpers
Once again I agree with the president. But many of these same individuals work in the offshore oil industry during the off season. This is also part of their way of life. For many of the 150,000 offshore oil workers, who work seven or 14 days at a stretch offshore, this is a way of life as well.
Yet the president, going against the wishes of the expert panel the DOI collected to advise it on offshore safety, has endorsed a moratorium [on deepwater drilling] that will forever impact THEIR way of life.
Rigs are already leaving the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the president’s decision and may not return for many years once they go. This will have the effect of eventually adding risk and decreasing safety for offshore workers once the moratorium is lifted.
As the panel of experts has been saying to all who will listen, the moratorium will increase risk by: a) requiring all drilling rigs to stop immediately and then re-enter wells at some future undefined date, b) affecting the mix of rigs available for drilling once the moratorium is lifted -- the best rigs are the first to go and last to return, c) reducing the experience level of drilling staff as they go overseas or leave the industry, and d) starting today, increasing the amount of oil we have to import by tanker at an ever-increasing rate as the 25 percent of our oil production which comes from existing wells in greater than 1,000 feet in the Gulf of Mexico declines.
Many years ago the government recognized that we could never eliminate the threat of a major spill and instituted a tax on oil production to build a fund to pay consequential damages from such an event as this. That fund was designed to provide up to $1 billion for consequential damages from a single event so that oil companies would not have to find insurance to cover this potential but unlikely possibility. The fund has collected from offshore oil producers much more than $1 billion to date.
The rationale for such a fund still exists. Without it, and if the president’s precedent of not using this fund, but requiring the oil company to pay all consequential damages becomes law, we will no longer be able to have small operators produce oil in our offshore waters. Luckily, BP and a few other major international oil companies like Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Total have the resources to fund such a liability. So do the nationally owned oil companies like China National Offshore Oil Company, Saudi Aramco, Venezuela’s PDVSA, etc.
Will this precedent see the end of the 150 or so small oil companies and large U.S. independents in the Gulf of Mexico?
I like to see BP pay and believe me at $1 billion per month they seem to be doing so. But I worry about the precedent and wonder what the government is doing with the spill tax they are collecting on produced oil.
It’s not clear what legal authority the president is relying on in directing BP to establish this fund and use an independent administrator. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, passed in response to the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, requires the responsible party – BP – to “establish a procedure for the payment or settlement of claims for interim, short-term damages.” But it’s not clear if the fund proposed by the president would go beyond short-term damages and compensate victims for economic losses and other damages for years to come.
A very high and lofty goal for the President to target, restoring the Gulf Coast would take a generation or more even before this oil disaster.
And like the commission, this is more bureaucracy, not action. ‘Develop a long term plan…as soon as possible’ sounds like the 1984 call by President Reagan to restore the Chesapeake Bay, which has failed again and again for over 25 years.
And will BP pay for the spill damage or the whole restoration? Will BP argue that the spill’s damage has been exacerbated by other previous insults to the ecosystem, that they are victims of spilling oil in an already fragile ecosystem and therefore not responsible for all the damage due to cumulative impacts? How will we separate BP’s damage from generations of neglect? Is the BP spill the killing blow in a long struggle?
While the concept of regional environmental restoration is appealing and widely supported, previous efforts to restore complex ecosystems have had only limited success. Getting input from states, local communities, and all of the interested people of the region is important, but consensus will be difficult to reach, especially because the Gulf is so environmentally and economically diverse. The federal government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on grand restoration plans for the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, and Everglades, and while there have been some improvements, the results don’t seem to justify the money spent. Environmental restoration is never as cost-effective as prevention.
David Brooks said he thought the president's language showed "how tenuous the lines of authority are" in the response.
At least the president is admitting the role of his policy decisions, but perhaps he should have questioned who gave him the “assurance” that offshore oil drilling is “absolutely safe.” That is simply not true, as the record of numerous oil spills, releases and accidents makes clear. The president may have supported offshore oil drilling because he put more value on increasing domestic oil supplies than protecting our oceans and coastline, but that decision should have been made with full knowledge of the risks of offshore oil drilling, not by naively trusting the claims of offshore drilling advocates (including members of the president’s administration) that it’s “absolutely safe.”
Carol Browner went further last Thursday, possibly tipping what the Administration really wants to happen here, as she basically called on the yet-to-be-seated commission to quickly proclaim that drilling can be done safely so that the six-month moratorium can be shortened.
We have to face facts here. The six month moratorium is a PR call to take the heat off. It will be ended as quickly as the oil industry can pressure them to so the oil and profits can flow again. It would take real leadership and nerve to actually halt offshore deepwater drilling. It's not likely, but Greenpeace would like to see a restored permanent moratorium on new offshore drilling off the East Coast, the Eastern Gulf and especially in Alaska.
From the White House:
As with all agencies and companies of any size there are always people who don’t behave as they should. The MMS has not been immune from this anymore than the White House or Congress.
However, the specific incidents used by the president occurred several years ago (most egregiously in Denver which has nothing to do with offshore drilling) and were dealt with when uncovered.
The MMS has proposed tough standards on industry, as evidenced by the fact that from 1970 until March 2010 the total amount of oil spilled from blowouts on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the U.S. was 1,500 barrels. There have been a total of over 50,000 wells drilled on the U.S. OCS (perhaps 30,000 to 40,000 of those since 1970). Not a bad record for an agency that started its modern regulation program in 1969 as a result of the Santa Barbara oil spill.
The safety record in the U.S. compares favorably with that of any other country and for drilling is equal to or better than that of Europe, depending on the statistics used in the comparison. The MMS can and should be improved. But it is wrong to blame the hardworking professionals who are responsible for a generally good record for the failing of a few bad apples.
Secretary Salazar has failed to oversee the Minerals Management Service, and it was his responsibility to do so from the moment he was appointed by President Obama. Perhaps he was moving in that direction, but simply not moving quickly enough, as the president states. However, Secretary Salazar has a long history of supporting offshore oil drilling going back to his days as a U.S. Senator. Given his past support for offshore oil drilling and his failure to adequately oversee one of his key agencies, he may just not be the right person for the job at this time.
"The president said tonight, accurately, we have 2 percent of the world's oil reserve and we use 20 percent," Shields said, adding that he didn't get a sense of whether President Obama wanted to hit a goal of using 18 or even 15 percent. "He spoke well as the leader of the nation, about the people of the Gulf and our commitment to them … As the head of the government, what asking of each of us, that's what I didn't hear."
"I thought the windup was stronger than the pitch ... I'm just not sure beyond the president's energy plan, which is before Congress, what he's asking of us other than to be aware, be committed, understand what people are going through down there."
New York Times columnist David Brooks said he was hoping the president would share more details about the government's plans to remedy the effects of the spill, saying he didn't think it was forceful or effective enough to change Americans' minds.
"I don’t think this is going to really change people's perspectives," he said.
Here Greenpeace could not agree more with the president’s vision. Our Energy Revolution report, released June 9th, details the road map to a clean, safe energy future, without the dangerous nuclear power, unproven and unsafe “clean coal” and without the expansion of oil production contained in the leading policy vehicles that the Administration has been pushing, namely the Kerry Lieberman bill.
When the president talks about ideas, he does mention the House bill, which reflects his principles. But then he says he's happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party. He later lists three things which are obvious and easy: efficiency standards in buildings, wind and solar power, and increasing research and development. So he essentially opens this up in a very broad way to anything that is reasonable. He doesn't mention climate change or pricing carbon.
I think he's saying he would like a [Senate] bill that is a start, but maybe isn't all that similar to the bill that passed the House -- because it's just not possible. And he clearly knows that.
There are a number of bills circulating around Capitol Hill that can do pieces of this. There's the energy bill that came out of Bingaman energy committee. There's the Kerry-Lieberman bill that prices carbon, and where the utility sector at least really like the portion that related to them. You have the Lugar bill, which is not a cap-and-trade, but it does move us away from fossil fuels. And you've got the Cantwell-Collins bill, which is economy-wide and cap-and-trade, but focuses on limiting the trading portion so that you don't have unintended consequences.
I think the objective should be to take pieces of all of these bills and see if you have a chance of getting to sixty votes. And I think if that happened, the president would be pleased.
The President is referring to the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), popularly known as the climate change “cap and trade” legislation. While the focus of the legislative effort last year was climate change, the real goal has always been to create a modern energy policy that builds a clean economy and reduces dependence on oil and coal. The legislation isn’t perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than what we have now – which is basically no energy policy at all except keep the cheap gas flowing until it runs out.
Breaking our oil dependence will be difficult and costly in the short-term, and that’s why we haven’t done it (yet). But it’s also necessary and unavoidable, which is why we must do it (eventually). The question is when, and the answer will depend on Presidential leadership. So far, President Obama has not put his full leadership behind this issue, and as he acknowledges, the delay and inaction keeps hurting our country. Presidents are defined by how they respond to challenges – and history looks most favorably on those that use a daunting challenge to build a better country.
This last bit seems way too uncertain and not what people were looking for. “Unsure exactly what that looks like…don’t know yet how to get there” sounds less than confident in his vision, but I know he is trying to sound demure and humble.
I think we needed more specifics on the plan, the vision, the steps that he is going to demand and those he is going to take under his power as president to push for clean energy solutions. All a bit vague and a lot like the ‘big table’ approach we have come to expect from President Obama. He is going to push for a big think, big debate about our energy fate using this crisis as a catalyst. Let’s hope the public pushes for real answers and doesn’t stop paying attention when the hole gets plugged weeks or months from now.