March 2 News: Obama Makes His Case On Gas Prices With Chart Showing Drop in Foreign Oil Dependence

Other stories below: Mitt Romney turns to energy in North Dakota stop; Climate change could wreak havoc on maple syrup industry

President Obama

Obama holds up chart showing U.S. dependence on foreign oil dropping from 60% in 2005 to 45% in 2011, during a speech in New Hampshire. [AFP/Getty Images]

Obama, chart in hand, presses his case on gas prices

Obama repeated his case, outlined in a speech last week, that there is “no silver bullet” to rising gas prices. He highlighted his administration’s effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil and boost development of alternative energy.

This week he introduced a new prop to illustrate his point. As Obama spoke, a chart popped up on television screens behind him. The graph showed U.S. dependence on foreign oil falling since 2005 — from 60% of net imports to 45% in 2011.

The White House handed out copies to the crowd. Obama told them to take it home — “it makes for a great conversation piece at parties.”

“Now, one reason our dependence on foreign oil is down is because of policies put in place by our administration and my predecessor’s administration. And whoever succeeds me will have to keep it up. This won’t be solved by one party or administration. It won’t be solved by slogans and phony rhetoric.”

Obama Seeks to End Subsidies for Oil and Gas Companies

With his re-election fate increasingly tied to the price Americans are paying at the gas pump, President Obama asked Congress on Thursday to end $4 billion in subsidies for oil and gas companies and vowed to tackle the country’s long-term energy issues while shunning “phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.”

Mr. Obama, in an appearance at Nashua Community College here, took a page out of his jobs strategy of last year, calling on Americans to contact their Congressional representatives and demand a vote on the oil subsidies in the next few weeks.

“You can either stand up for the oil companies, or you can stand up for the American people,” Mr. Obama said. “You can keep subsidizing a fossil fuel that’s been getting taxpayer dollars for a century, or you can place your bets on a clean-energy future.”

Rising Temps in Northwest May Impact Hydro, California

Spring is just around the corner, but here on the West Coast it’s hard to believe winter was ever here. In Washington, Oregon, and particularly California, far less snow and rain has fallen this winter than usual and it has many people worried about water supplies further into spring and summer.

Currently, river levels are forecast to be well below average throughout Northern California this spring and summer. Among other things, that doesn’t bode well for hydropower. On the other hand, rivers should be running closer to normal in Washington and Oregon this year, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. It’s a small blessing for Californians, who rely on their northern neighbors for electricity each summer.

But in the coming decades, warmer temperatures could hamstring hydropower production in the Pacific Northwest, forcing California to look elsewhere for an electricity boost.

California Rising Sea Levels Threaten Southern California Beaches

A new study finds that rising sea levels due to climate change will remove sand from some Southern California beaches and distribute it to others.

The change will either shrink or eliminate some beaches altogether in Southern California, according to the study conducted by Duke and five other institutions.

It could take 100 years before the erosion is complete, notes the Los Angeles Times. Over the course of a century, the sea level is expected to rise by 1 meter, which would lead to severe winter storms and high tides that could make some beaches disappear.

Greenpeace ordered to stay away from Shell’s Arctic drilling rigs

With conflict brewing over Shell’s plans to begin exploratory drilling in the U.S. Arctic this summer, a federal judge in Anchorage has issued a temporary restraining order banning Greenpeace activists from launching operations against the company’s two drilling rigs.

U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason on Thursday granted the oil company’s request for an order preventing activists from repeating their recent stunt off New Zealand, in which Greenpeace drilling opponents mounted the Noble Discoverer drilling rig and impeded its departure for North America.

“Other recent and past actions confirm Greenpeace’s intent to do what it takes to prevent Shell from carrying out its Arctic exploration drilling program and, more broadly, to ‘kick the oil companies out of the Arctic,’” Royal Dutch Shell lawyers said in their motion.

Everest hero highlights threat of glacial melt, devastating floods with 120-day Himalayan trek

Before Apa became a legendary Sherpa mountaineer, he was a humble Himalayan potato farmer who worked his fields in the Everest foothills until, without warning, raging floodwaters swallowed his farm.

The flash flood — unleashed when a mountain lake fed by melting glacier waters burst its banks — destroyed homes, bridges and a hydroelectric plant. Apa scrambled up a hill, but at least five neighbors were swept away.

Twenty-six years later, after scaling the world’s highest mountain a record 21 times, Apa is on a quest to draw attention to the danger of more devastating floods as glacial melt caused by climate change fills mountain lakes to the bursting point.

Mitt Romney turns to energy in North Dakota stop

Campaigning in the state with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, Mitt Romney pivoted to energy policy Thursday — accusing President Obama of standing in the way of good paying jobs and using his energy policies to reward campaign donors in industries like wind and solar.

Romney, who has been endorsed by many of the state’s most prominent Republicans, did not mention his Republican opponents in North Dakota — apparently hoping to keep the focus on the contrast between his energy agenda and that of President Obama, who discussed his efforts to boost domestic energy production in New Hampshire on Thursday.

He argued that Obama has tried to stifle the development of oil and gas resources in the U.S. and said the president was wrong to try to strengthen federal oversight of fracking — a technique where fluids are blasted into the ground to help extract oil and gas.

Climate change could wreak havoc on maple syrup industry

It has been an unseasonably warm winter this year, which is giving some cause for concern for local maple syrup producers who wonder what the warmer weather will mean for their already unpredictable industry.

About 55 people were on hand for the recent annual general meeting of the Halibruton-Kawartha Maple Syrup Producer Association (HKMSPA) at the Buckhorn Community Centre. The group is a unit of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producer’s Association, and hosted agroforestry specialist Todd Leuty of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to speak about the impact of climate change on the maple syrup industry.

He told This Week that while researchers in Canada and the U.S. have been following the increase in temperature over the past few decades, it is still difficult to know what affect these changes will have on the maple syrup industry.

“The ecological balance in the forest is very interactive so it’s hard to predict what will happen.”

12 Responses to March 2 News: Obama Makes His Case On Gas Prices With Chart Showing Drop in Foreign Oil Dependence

  1. catman306 says:

    It’s suggested that climate change messaging about the weather should use the word ‘extreme’ at every opportunity.
    As in:
    “This has been an extremely mild winter in the US.”
    “Tornado outbreaks during February are extremely rare.”

    Everyone knows that extreme weather can be a killer. Link it to climate uncertainty, climate unpredictability, and climate change. Let ‘extreme’ and ‘extremely’ be our adjectives and adverbs of choice. Americans may yet get the message.

  2. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    From my wife’s cousin, a tornado researcher at Oklahoma State U: Strong storms up and down the Ohio Valley today with a good chance of several extremely strong tornadoes developing.

  3. Anderlan says:

    Obama says there is not quick fix for American families’ price at the pump. But there IS a silver bullet, Mr. President!

    Half or more of Americans live close enough to work, shopping, and community to buy an electric car as their next vehicle for local trips. For long range trips and for those who live farther away from work there are 40+ mpg hybrids improving in price and technology every model year.

    This solution may not be immediate for everyone, but it is immediate for some and short to medium term for everyone.

  4. Daniel J. Andrews says:

    What constitutes “foreign” oil in Obama’s chart? Anything outside of North America?

    I ask because up here in Canada we heard that various U.S. politicians were saying we need to develop the pipeline from the tar sands to the U.S. to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

    So Canadian oil isn’t foreign then?

  5. with the doves says:

    The antipathy to “foreign” oil is weird. We get foreign everything else. Why not oil? It’s not like domestic producers give us any kind of a break, or greater reliance on domestic leads to lower prices …. and yes, US pols don’t always view Canadian oil as “foreign.”

    I think they did polls and found people respond to the phrase “foreign oil” even though it matters little. I guess it helps with the trade deficit.

  6. Paul Magnus says:

    Climate Change Emergency should be there also…

  7. Paul Magnus says:

    Climate Chaos
    Dams have been overflowing so in terms of what we can do, there’s not a heck of a lot. Tractors are getting bogged and you know local farmers being absolutely inundated by this rain.

    I’ve spoken to 90-year-old people who have never seen the likes of this deluge before.

    Bathurst cut in two as deluge continues
    The New South Wales central west city of Bathurst is the area of greatest concern for emergency services tonight, as the rain system blanketing much of south-east Australia continues to dump record falls.

  8. Paul Magnus says:

    The term emergency is missing from the messaging on GW….
    This, says Hansen, is a planetary emergency, just as important as an asteroid on its way. “But we dither, taking no action to divert the asteroid, even though the longer we wait, the more difficult and expensive it becomes.”
    “Now you know some of what I know that is sounding me to sound this alarm. Clearly I haven’t gotten this message across. I need your help. We owe it to our children and grandchildren.”

  9. Paul Magnus says:

    It notes that Canada and the United States have undergone role reversals in the past six years.

    It says the U.S. has adopted more open practices since the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, while Canada has gone in the opposite direction.

  10. malcreado says:

    US drilling is up, especially in the Bakken oil shale area. So I dont believe that the chart in question refers Canada Tar Sands as domestic.

    A good place to check energy stats is at

  11. Sasparilla says:

    Here’s one that goes under technology that we need for when we get serious….

    GM shuts down Volt production for 5 weeks|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

    Sales of the Volt were up last month (~1000) with the first Volts eligible for CA HOV stickers just starting to arrive in CA when this was done today. Nissan Leaf sales were about half that.

    The oil industry and its lackies (Fox News, GOP and others – limbaugh) will be very happy to see this after their constant barrage of attacks on the vehicle.

    This is a very scary happening to a technology we need.

  12. Mark says:

    Don’t just END oil company subsidies….

    Re-allocate them to additional clean energy tax credits so taxpayers have additional financial incentive to buy hybrids, replace old appliances, and weatherize homes. Is there any way to steer customers (or the money itself) to domestic companies while avoiding legal problems with our international trading partners?