Hello Blog Readers!  I’m not sure if any of you had a chance to watch the State of the Union, but I did, and here some environment-related takeaways that I noted:  First off, Obama has doubled down on green energy, in spite of pressure from his opponents:

“I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here. We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.” (http://huff.to/yfZC9B)

Secondly, Obama is still invested in off-shore oil drilling as well as fracking for natural gas.  One thing that interested me about Obama’s reference to fracking is that he wants to know what specific chemicals are being used before we get too involved with tapping into our massive natural gas deposits.  The issue with fracking is that it adds strange things to the water table (http://bit.ly/cOzSR6).  Sometimes, people who live near areas where fracking takes place suffer strange illnesses generally thought to have derived from their drinking water, and in some cases they’ve been able to ignite the “water” coming from their kitchen faucet.  I hope Obama sees to it that the gas fracking industry guarantees safety from pollution of our water tables as well as looking into the cause and effect of fracking in addition to the recent swell in the number of earthquakes occurring in areas near where fracking is taking place.  This is something that should be strictly regulated by the EPA and not the “industry experts”, who always seem to weigh in on the side of the industry (http://bit.ly/hTo93v).  As for Obama’s stance on drilling for oil, it’s really is just a reflection of the status quo.

I think it was important that Obama indirectly referenced the controversial Solyndra issue.  If people are able to successfully scare the administration away politically, from investing federal money into alternative energies, we will find ourselves in last place in the alternative energy economy, and we’ll still be reliant on the old, heavy polluting fossil fuels we’ve been burdened with for years.  Our competitors in places like China are able to make bold investments in alternative energy because they face zero opposition in regards to doing what they know is right for their economy (http://bit.ly/yobk8W), even if they are still slow in coming around to the moral issue of taking care of the planet for future generations. -Mark