Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> Energy -> Natural Resources

Natural ResourcesGrade
The Promise: "Obama will federal double [sic] science and research funding for clean energy projects including those that make use of our biomass, solar and wind resources."
When/Where: Obama Plan to Make America a Global Energy Leader, dated 10/07/07.
Status:The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) appropriation for FY2009 was $2.157B.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 included $2.5B for "research, development, demonstration and deployment" of alternative energy capabilities. This more than "doubled" the FY2009 budget for clean energy initiatives managed by the EERE.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will enter into public private partnerships to develop five 'first-of-a-kind' commercial scale coal-fired plants with clean carbon capture and sequestration technology."
When/Where: Obama and Biden's Plan for America: "Blueprint for Change," dated 10/09/08.
Status:The "FutureGen" project, a public-private partnership to develop coal gasification, carbon capture, and sequestration technologies was cancelled by the Bush Administration. The Obama Administration revived this initiative under what was referred to as the "Clean Coal Power Initiative Round Three." FutureGen 2.0 at Meredosia, Ill was finally killed again by the Department of Energy (DOE) on 02/03/15.

The Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP) is an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) facility near Odessa, TX that will incorporate carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology in a first-of-its-kind commercial clean coal power plant. This project is expected to be operational in 2018. It will be the first US-based power plant to combine both IGCC and capture 90% of its emissions.

According to the DOE, it is not economical to retrofit existing coal plants with carbon capture technology.

Of the five (5) five 'first-of-a-kind' commercial scale coal-fired plants with clean carbon capture and sequestration technology to be developed under this promise, only the TCEP is a viable project, at three times the estimated cost ($6.6B) and three years behind schedule.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will work with the Canadian government, state of Alaska, oil and gas producers, and other stakeholders to facilitate construction of the pipeline."
When/Where: Obama and Biden's Plan for America: "Blueprint for Change," dated 10/09/08.
Status:In CY1967, significant natural gas reserves were discovered in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Building a 48-inch pipeline capable of carrying 41B cubic meters of natural gas per year from Alaska's North Slope to Calgary, Alberta has been in planning stages since CY1973.

The White House's Pipeline Coordinator Office reported on 05/05/10 in Fairbanks, Alaska that the Obama Administration continued to support the Alaska Pipeline Project.

This project could eventually deliver 4.5B barrels of clean-burning natural gas from Alaska's North Slope through a 1,700 mile pipeline to Alberta, Canada. From there, the pipeline could be extended an additional 1,500 miles to the Chicago area with producers in North Dakota and Montana authorized to tap into it to support local consumption requirements. An alternative routing considered would have the natural gas flow to Valdez, Alaska from where it could be transported to markets in the western USA, Mexico and Hawaii.

President Obama and his Administration have routinely worked with their Canadian counterparts and Alaskan Government officials to push the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline toward reality. In CY2010, President Obama appointed Larry Persily as his Federal Coordinator for Alaska Gas Line Projects, a key figure in these bilateral talks.

As of end-CY2016, the pipeline is still considered to be in its preliminary design (over 90% complete)/planning stage but it is unknown exactly when construction will start and who will build it.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "Oil companies have access to 68 million acres of land, over 40 million offshore, which they are not drilling on. Drilling in open areas could significantly increase domestic oil and gas production. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will require oil companies to diligently develop these leases or turn them over so that another company can develop them."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "New Energy for America" dated 09/06/08.
Status:On 03/31/10, reversing a 20-year ban, President Obama announced the opening of specific areas along the Atlantic seaboard from the northern tip of Delaware down to central Florida, a new section of the Gulf of Mexico and the Cook Inlet in Alaska.

On 10/18/15, the Department of the Interior announced it was calling off two auctions for oil and gas drilling rights in the Arctic off Alaska and denied requests for lease extensions by Shell and Statoil. The two canceled auctions were for the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, potentially scheduled for CY2016 and the first half of CY 2017, respectively.

Requests for "lease suspensions" from Shell and Statoil that would have allowed them to keep their leases beyond their primary 10-year terms set to expire in CY2017 for the Beaufort Sea and in CY2020 for the Chukchi Sea were denied. According to Interior Secretary Jewell, "among other things, the companies did not demonstrate a reasonable schedule of work for exploration and development under the leases."

On 11/18/16, the Obama Administration banned offshore drilling/exploration in the Arctic (specifically Chukchi and Beaufort seas), with the exception of Cook Inlet, until CY2022. The ban also applies to plans for companies to drill for natural gas and oil off the Atlantic coast of four eastern seaboard states. Citing the Outer-Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953, President Obama solidified this ban on 12/20/16. Retained were 10 potential leases in the Gulf of Mexico plus Cook Inlet near Anchorage, Alaska.

In view of the Obama Administration playing hardball with regard to leases, this promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will establish a 25 percent federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to require that 25 percent of electricity consumed in the U.S. is derived from clean, sustainable energy sources, like solar, wind and geothermal by 2025."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Promoting a Healthy Environment," dated 10/08/08.
Status:See Promise EN-25. The goal of RPS is to stimulate market and technology development so that renewable energy will be competitive with conventional forms of electric power.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) (H.R. 2454) was introduced by Congressmen Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) on 05/15/09. It narrowly passed the House on 06/26/09. But in the absence of any Senate action, this bill died when the 111th Congress expired at the end of CY2010.

ACES would have established a federal RPS, requiring that 6% of electric power come from renewable resources by CY2012, and 20% by 2020. No mention of CY2025.

Only Nevada, Illinois, Minnesota, Delaware and Oregon have established targets exactly consistent with President Obama's promise of 25% by CY2025. Several have exceeded the President's goal: Alaska (50% by CY2025), California (33% by CY2020), Colorado (30% by CY2020), New York (30% by CY2015), Maine (40% by CY2017) and Hawaii (40% by CY2030).

Legislation to support this promise such as S. 433 (A bill to amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to establish a renewable electricity standard, and for other purposes) failed to get through the 111th Congress. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) tried again by reintroducing the bill as S.741 during the 112th Congress. Under these proposed bills, 25% of electricity consumption would have to be from clean, renewable sources by CY2025. S.741 died when the 112th Congress expired at the end of CY2013.

As of end-CY2016, there is no law establishing the 25% RPS national objective by CY2025.

This promise was not fulfilled.