Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> Energy -> Natural Resources


ItemEnergy
Natural ResourcesGrade
EN-33
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.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/4465b108758abf7a42_a3jmvyfa5.pdf
Status:The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) appropriation for FY2009 was $2.157B. This appropriation was supplemented by an additional $16B under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. This more than "doubled" the FY2009 budget for clean energy initiatives managed by the EERE.

This promise was fulfilled.
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EN-34
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.
Source: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/550007/barack-obama-2008-blueprint-for-change.pdf
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 (CCPI) Round Three." A FutureGen 2.0 project at Meredosia, Ill was killed by the Department of Energy (DOE) on 02/03/15 under DOE's belief that it was not economically feasible to retrofit existing coal plants with carbon capture technology.

Under President Obama, the DOE started support of the Petra Nova Project near Houston, Texas. By end-CY2016, the DOE had provided $190M under the original CCPI, which included funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, and an additional $23M in 02/16 under the FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which included the "Furthering Carbon Capture, Utilization, Technology, Underground Storage, and Reduced Emissions (FUTURE) Act" (S.1535) that extended tax credits for Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) projects. This plant, one of two worldwide (the other is in Canada), became fully operational by the end of President Obama's second term in office in 01/17. Petra Nova can reportedly capture over 90% of the carbon dioxide released from the equivalent of a 240 megawatt coal unit, which translates into 5K tons of carbon dioxide per day or over 1M tons per year.

The Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP) is an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) facility near Odessa, TX that proposed to incorporate CCUS technology in a first-of-its-kind commercial clean coal power plant. This project was expected to be operational in CY2018 as the first US-based power plant to combine both IGCC and capture 90% of its emissions. By end-CY2016, TCEP was filing for bankruptcy and their clean coal power plant project was ultimately cancelled.

The promise to "enter into public private partnerships to develop five..." was honored and exeeded by four for a total of nine. Nonetheless, including TCEP above, eight of the nine CCUS start-ups/initiatives either failed or were terminated during President Obama's two terms in office or shortly thereafter.

This promise was fulfilled.
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EN-35
The Promise: "Prioritize the Construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline...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.
Source: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/550007-barack-obama-2008-blueprint-for-change.html
Status:In CY1967, significant natural gas reserves (30T cubic feet) were discovered in Prudhoe Bay and Point Thompson, Alaska. When then-Candidate Obama campaigned for election to the presidency, building a 1,700 mile, 48-inch pipeline capable of carrying natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to Calgary, Alberta had been in planning stages since CY1973.

From Alberta, the original plan was for the pipeline to 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 under consideration at the time would have the natural gas flow to Valdez, Alaska from where it could be transported to markets in the western USA, Mexico, Hawaii and Asia.

In CY2010, President Obama appointed Larry Persily as his Federal Coordinator for Alaska Gas Line Projects, a key figure in bilateral talks with Canada. In late CY2011, the Alaska Gas Pipeline announced the cancellation of its Natural Gas Pipeline development efforts as originally planned (to Alberta and potentially to the lower 48 states) due to market changes and lack of popular support in Canada.

A few years later, Mr. Persily announced that his office had not been funded by Congress for FY2015. The efforts of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Gas Line Projects ceased.

This promise was not fulfilled.
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EN-36
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.
Source: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/edg/media/Obama_New_Energy_0804.pdf
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.

This promise was fulfilled.
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EN-37
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.
Source: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/edg/media/Obama_Cap_and_Trade_0512.pdf
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 CY2020. CY2025 was not mentioned as a goal year in this bill.

Only Nevada, Illinois, Delaware, New Hampshire 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), Maryland (25% by CY2020), Michigan (35% by CY2025), Minnesota (26.5% by CY2025), Maine (40% by CY2017), Hawaii (30% by CY2020), Vermont (55% by CY2017) and U.S. Virgin Islands (30% by CY2025).

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.
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