… What I want to do is with West Virginia to figure out how we can seize that future. But to do that, that means there’s going to have to be some transition. We can’t operate the coal industry in the United States as if we’re still in the 1920s or the 1930s or the 1950s. We’ve got to be thinking, what does that industry look like in the next hundred years?
President Obama, speaking today in Baltimore, took questions from Republican members of the House of Representatives, including West Virginia’s own Shelley Moore Capito.
For example, nobody’s been a bigger promoter of clean coal technology than I am. In testament to that, I ended up being in a whole bunch of advertisements that you guys saw all the time about investing in ways for us to burn coal more cleanly.
I’ve said that I’m a promoter of nuclear energy, something that, you know, I think over the last three decades has been subject to a lot of partisan wrangling and ideological wrangling. I don’t think it makes sense. I think that that has to be part of our energy mix.
I’ve said that I am supportive — and I said this two nights ago at the State of the Union — that I’m in favor of increased production.
So if you look at the ideas that this caucus has, again, with respect to energy, I’m for a lot of what you said you are for.
The one thing that I’ve also said, though — and here we have a serious disagreement and my hope is we can work through this agreement — these disagreements; there’s be effort on the Senate side to do so on a bipartisan basis — is that we have to plan for the future.
And the future is that clean energy — cleaner forms of energy are going to be increasingly important. Because even if folks are still skeptical in some cases about climate change in our politics and in Congress, the world’s not skeptical about it.
If we’re going to be going after some of these big markets, they’re going to be looking to see is the United States the one that’s developing clean coal technology? Is the United States developing our natural gas resources in the most effective way? Is the United States the one that is going to lead in electric cars?
Because if we’re not leading, those other countries are going to be leading.
OBAMA: So what I want to do is with West Virginia to figure out how we can seize that future. But to do that, that means there’s going to have to be some transition. We can’t operate the coal industry in the United States as if we’re still in the 1920s or the 1930s or the 1950s. We’ve got to be thinking, what does that industry look like in the next hundred years?
And it’s going to be different. And that means there’s going to be some transition, and that’s where I think a well-thought-through policy of incentivizing the new while, you know, recognizing that there’s going to be a transition process and we’re not just suddenly putting the old out of business right away. That has to be something that both Republicans and Democrats should be able to embrace.
And here, you can watch for yourself: