President Obama Proposes Energy Security Trust

Would "drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good"

WASHINGTON -- In his 2013 State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama proposed that "we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a nonpartisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let's take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we've put up with for far too long."

He offered no details, but the coalition he referred to is Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE). Robbie Diamond, the group's president and CEO, said that he "welcomed" President Obama's proposal in the State of the Union address to establish a federal Energy Security Trust. In its "National Strategy for Energy Security," SAFE's Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), co-chaired by FedEx Chairman, president, and CEO Frederick W. Smith and former Marine Corps Commandant General P.X. Kelley (USMC, Ret.) recommended using a portion of revenue generated from increased oil production to establish a trust fund dedicated to reducing America's oil dependence.

Enacting the President's trust proposal, however, would require an act of Congress, according to a report by The Hill. Currently, royalties from oil and gas drilling on onshore and offshore lands are shared among the federal Treasury and the states.

The idea of establishing such a trust from those revenues has existed for quite some time as a way to lessen dependence on foreign oil, said the report.

Obama said the funds would do just that by sparking investment in electric vehicles, biofuels and natural gas-powered cars.

Other selected comments on energy and transportation from the President's speech:

  • "Today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy. After years of talking about it, we're finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar--with tens of thousands of good American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before--and nearly everyone's energy bill is lower because of it."
  • "The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. And that's why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. That's got to be part of an all-of-the-above plan. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and our water."
  • "America's energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they'd rather locate and hire--a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with high-speed rail and Internet; high-tech schools, self-healing power grids. … So tonight, I propose a 'Fix-It-First' program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. And to make sure taxpayers don't shoulder the whole burden, I'm also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital."