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Issues

State of the Union

In President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union (SOTU) address, he focused primarily on economic stability and America’s energy future.  He touted the positive turn the country has taken though reducing debt, increasing reliance on domestic energy resources and lowering unemployment.  The President also reiterated his commitment to act independently and take executive action to in order to move his priorities forward.   Although the SOTU contains few details and carries little force of action, it outlines the President’s focus in the second year of his final term.

Of particular interest to Con Edison are the following points from the President’s address:

Natural Gas
• Touting the role of natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal, the President reminded viewers that natural gas is one of the top reasons America is more energy independent than ever before.
• A call to Congress to create incentives for additional natural gas vehicle fueling stations.
• The creation of “Sustainable Shale Gas Growth Zones” to help “regions come together to make sure shale gas is developed in a safe, responsible way that helps build diverse and resilient regional economies.”
• Expansion of tax incentives to “build fuel infrastructure and to replace oil with U.S.-produced natural gas in trucks and other transportation.” The administration will also work with states and communities to “coordinate review of proposed private sector projects to invest in new energy-intensive U.S. manufacturing plants relying on natural gas.”
• Reducing methane emissions and improving the safety of gas drilling through pending Interior Department regulations.

Energy Efficiency
• New fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks, buses and vans.
• Additional efficiency rules for a number of appliances.

Transportation
• The President asked Congress to create an “Energy Security Trust” that would provide $2 billion for advanced vehicle technology, which could include electric vehicles, hydrogen, biofuels or natural gas, and would be paid for by revenue generated from oil and gas production on public lands.
• Deployment of advanced vehicles by using a fuel neutral tax credit in order to trigger more investment in the infrastructure needed to support cars or trucks powered by electricity, biofuels or other fuel sources.

Climate Change
• A commitment to work with states and local communities as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drafts carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants.
• Streamlining reviews for infrastructure projects such as renewable energy projects and roadways.
• A call to advance the Interior Department’s efforts to expand wind and solar development on federal land, permitting 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy on public land by 2020.

A summary of the President’s speech can be found here.

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