What Enviros Are Saying About Obama's Speech

Analysis of environmental portions of Obama's and Jindal's speeches; criticisms for their flubs.

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The best of the blogosphere's commentary on Obama's speech last night, regarding energy and environmental concerns:

"Notice that 'it begins with energy'—before health care, even. Wonder if that says anything about his major legislative priorities. Also noteworthy: Obama reiterated, in no uncertain terms, his support for cap-and-trade legislation (in case anyone thought this might quietly slip under the cushions)." --Bradford Plumer, The New Republic

Mr. Obama also had kind words for often-overlooked areas such as transmission and energy efficiency...Perhaps most noteworthy for clean-energy advocates, Mr. Obama clearly stated his support for a cap on carbon dioxide emissions." --Kate Galbraith, NYT's Green Inc.

"Even the political capital of the popular Mr. Obama is not unlimited. We hope he does not spread it so broadly that he is left without the means to extinguish the fires raging now." -- Editorial board of the Washington Post

"We were especially struck by his determination to pass a carbon "cap and trade" regime, despite the costs it would impose on the economy amid a recession. Only last year Midwest Democrats rebelled against those costs when the Senate debated cap and trade. But in the past week Mr. Obama's green advisers have declared that the Administration will soon formally declare that carbon must be regulated like any pollutant under the Clean Air Act. This will unleash a flood of new regulatory controls across the economy, and perhaps Mr. Obama believes this imperative will drive Congress to act, almost as a kind of relief. But the economic uncertainty alone will further retard business risk-taking just when we need such daring for the economy to recover." -- Editorial board of the Wall Street Journal

"Notice the order here. We address our infrastructure, we focus on our economy through building retrofits and we push forward on renewable energy, all within the overarching context of climate change action. I agree completely. Climate change legislation is huge for efficiency." -- Lane Burt, Natural Resources Defense Council's Switchboard

"Sorry Mr. President, but America did not invent the automobile. You (or your speech writer) made a very common mistake. We may have simplified it, perfected it and made it affordable to the common man, but we didn’t come up with the idea. Credit for the first motorized conveyance goes to a Frenchman, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot. In 1769 Cugnot built a steam-powered tractor that was designed to pull military equipment...But a German, Karl Benz in 1885, invented the first gasoline-powered automobile. Yes, the same Benz that is part of today’s Mercedes-Benz." -- Rick Trawick, The Examiner

"The GOP solution Jindal offered sounded something like the Obama proposed just before, but included nuclear power and increased oil and gas drilling." --Kate Sheppard, Grist

"The madness continues on the right-wing’s crusade against a mythical high-speed rail to Las Vegas project that Harry Reid is alleged to have snuck into the stimulus bill...In a last-minute change, the total quantity of funds available was increased. But there’s no special plan for Las Vegas. The money will be spread all across the country." Matthew Yglesias of Think Progress, who notes that Louisiana, not Las Vegas, will be getting high-speed rails. 


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