Remarks of President Barack Obama

As Prepared for Delivery
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Indianapolis, Indiana

Hi.  I’m speaking with you today from the Allison Transmissions plant in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I came here because this is a place where American workers are doing some big and impressive things.

The hybrid technology they manufacture here already powers nearly 4,000 buses all over the world – buses that have already saved 15 million gallons of fuel.  Soon, they’ll expand this new technology to trucks as well.  That means more vehicles using less oil, and that means jobs – more than 200 new workers at this plant alone.

That’s important because even as the economy is growing after one of the worst recessions in our history; even as we’ve added more than 2 million new private sector jobs over the past 14 months; I still meet and hear from Americans struggling to get out of their own personal recessions.

A lot of folks are still looking for work.  And many folks who do have jobs are finding that their paychecks aren’t keeping up with the rising costs for everything from tuition to groceries to gas.  In fact, in a lot of places across the country, like Indiana, gas is reaching all-time highs.

So although our economy hasn’t been the focus of the news this week, not a day that goes by that I’m not focused on your jobs, your hopes and your dreams.  And that’s why I came here to Allison Transmissions.

The clean energy jobs at this plant are the jobs of the future – jobs that pay well right here in America.  And in the years ahead, it’s clean energy companies like this one that will keep our economy growing, create new jobs, and make sure America remains the most prosperous nation in the world.

Allison Transmissions is also part of the ultimate solution to high gas prices.  We know there are no quick fixes to this problem.  In the short term, we’re doing everything we can to boost safe and responsible oil production here at home – in fact, last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003.

But over the long term, the only way we can avoid being held hostage to the ups and downs of oil prices is if we reduce our dependence on oil.  That means investing in clean, alternative sources of energy, like advanced biofuels and natural gas.  And that means making cars and trucks and buses that use less oil.

Other countries know this, and they’re going all in to invest in clean energy technologies and clean energy jobs.  But I don’t want other countries to win the competition for these technologies and these jobs.  I want America to win that competition.  I want America to win the future.

Full transcript of the president’s remarks can be found at

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/07/weekly-address-clean-energy-will-help-us-out-compete-and-out-innovate-re

Our Take:
First we applaud President Obama for putting energy production back on the agenda, and talking about it in such a straightforward manner (i.e. Yes we need as much oil as we can safely produce)–as he points out, our economy, job security, environment all depend on our taking action and getting off the oil-price roller coaster. Ethanol is playing a major role in that effort.

We can see that the word “ethanol” now seems taboo for many politicians, and that the acceptable phrase, as heard here in the president’s speech, has become “advanced biofuels,” meaning ethanol or biodiesel fuel sourced from something other than grain or oilseeds.

So many elected officials have accepted the narrative that has come from critics that claims that farm-based energy means taking food from hungry people and using it for fuel. So, once again, we say it just ain’t so.

Farmers grow as much grain as market signals dictate. Wherever there is a consumer for grain, he will be able to purchase the grain that he needs. The energy market is added on top of other uses. It doesn’t ‘cheat’ anyone of grain. Further, energy production is firmly integrated with food production. Ethanol plants produce millions of tons of distillers grains, which provide nutritious protein, fiber and oil to cattle, hogs, poultry and other livestock.

America can only “win the future” if it plays to its strengths. Agricultural production is one of those. Grain-based biofuels provides the foundation for advanced biofuels–it is not an either/or relationship, but rather a complementary one. The first stage of advanced biofuels production will come out of ag waste like wheat straw and corn cobs, as well as farm-grown acreage of fast-growing poplar trees and switch grass.

The side-by-side growth of grain-based ethanol and cellulosic ethanol will ensure the future of green jobs in rural America, the prosperity of cash-grain farmers and the longterm vitality of America’s small towns.

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