Obama to push for Energy Security Trust in Argonne Labs visit
BY LYNN SWEET Washington Bureau Chief March 15, 2013 8:02AM
Updated: March 15, 2013 10:29AM
WASHINGTON-- President Barack Obama visits Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Lemont on Friday to deliver a speech on weaning the nation from oil and gas, following up on an energy plan unveiled in his State of the Union address to ask Congress to create an Energy Security Trust.
He will speak at 1:30 p.m. Chicago time, after a tour of the lab.
The goal of the trust, the White House said, is to "invest in breakthrough research that will make the technologies of the future cheaper and better - technologies that will protect American families from spikes in gas prices and allow us to run our cars and trucks on electricity or homegrown fuels."
Congress will be asked for $2 billion, spread over 10 years, starting with the next budget.
The Obama administration has already made progress in lessening the nation's dependence on foreign oil, with imports, according to the White House, at a 20-year low with growing use of alternative sources--such as geothermal, solar and wind.
In his State of the Union speech, Obama said "I propose 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," Obama said in the February address.
The coalition Obama referred to which developed the trust concept is named "SAFE" -- Securing America's Future Energy -- co-chaired by FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith and former Marine Corps Commandant General P.X. Kelley. SAFE CEO and president Robbie Diamond said he will be at Argonne on Friday for the speech, where he expects to hear how Obama will implement an energy trust.
"There is no greater economic and national security threat than our dependence on oil," Diamond said. The nation needs to develop "alternatives to oil to power our cars and trucks."
Obama was last in Chicago on Feb. 15 for a speech at the Hyde Park Academy.
Argonne is one of the Department of Energy's biggest national laboratories, managed by the University of Chicago.
Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) whose district includes Argonne, plans on attending the speech.
Obama's speech will be streamed live at: www.whitehouse.gov/live