- President Obama delivered the State of the Union address Tuesday night, declaring that the "shadow of crisis" that had so long hung over the American economy had lifted and that the nation is poised for significant growth.
- On energy issues, the president highlighted the role of renewables and domestic oil and gas production in the economic recovery and restated his commitment to fighting climate change. He also called for increased investment in infrastructure and cybersecurity measures across the economy, including the electric utility industry.
- Obama also reiterated his pledge to stand by new EPA regulations on carbon pollution from power plants and methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.
Observers from across the political spectrum have noted the president was confident, even defiant, in this year's State of the Union, declaring "I have no more campaigns to run" as he promoted the improving economy and shrinking federal deficits.
SNL Energy reports that Obama gave attention to a number of energy issues last night, including the solar, wind, and oil and gas industries.
"We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet," he told the new GOP-controlled Congress. "And today, America is number one in oil and gas. America is number one in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008."
Conspicuously absent from both the president's address and the Republican response was any mention of coal, a fact some observers attribute to the industry's declining political clout. Newly-elected Iowa Sen. Joni-Ernst gave the Republican response.
Whereas the president did not mention climate change once in his 2011 State of the Union, it was a central focus of this year's address.
"I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act," the president said, mocking an oft-used GOP refrain. "Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate ... The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it."