Obama touts natural gas, alternative energy in acceptance speech

From his podium at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, President Barack Obama told voters that reelecting him would keep the nation on a path to slash oil imports, boost renewable energy and make cars more efficient.

At the same time, Obama endorsed developing “a hundred-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet,” reiterating support for the fossil fuel that he expressed in his State of the Union address last January.

Obama used his prime-time address to highlight stark differences between his energy policy and the approach of his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. He cast the choice as one between embracing a clean energy future that combines natural gas with alternative power sources and a plan wedded to fossil fuels.

“I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan or endanger our coastlines or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers,” Obama said, making a reference to oil and gas industry tax deductions he has repeatedly asked Congress to spike.

Although Obama’s speech didn’t dwell on climate change — another sign of how the politics of that issue have changed in the past four years — he asserted that his energy policies “will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet.”

And he made a jab at Romney’s joke about climate warming on the Republican National Convention stage just a week earlier.

“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet,” Romney said last week. “My promise is to help you and your family.”

In response Thursday night, Obama insisted that “climate change is not a hoax.”

He added: “More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke.”

Here is an excerpt of Obama’s speech dealing with energy policy:

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We have doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day, more than any administration in recent history. And today the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades.

So now you have a choice between a strategy that reverses this progress or one that builds on it.

We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan or endanger our coastlines or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers. We’re offering a better path.

We’re offering a better path where we — a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal, where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks, where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy — where, where we develop a hundred-year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future.