He touched upon many subjects, but, for those interested in the environment and energy production, two paragraphs stood out. In those paragraphs, he referred to issues that may impact California's High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, Kern County's traditional oil and gas industry, and Kern County's alternative energy projects, such as those involving wind and solar power.
The President said,
"We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.
The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure -- our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared."
So what does this mean? The speech itself was totally absent of details of course, and only the weeks and months ahead will see what, if any, proposals the Administration will make.
Presumably, this could be good news for HSR projects here in California and elsewhere. Proponents of those projects tout the reduction in fossil fuels and greenhouse gases that they say will occur. As a result, managers of HSR projects, as well as wind and solar energy projects, may be able to look forward to continued and possibly increased Administration support.
The heavy oil and gas industry, on the other hand, may be facing increased scrutiny and regulation as their operations and the products they produce are some of the major sources for greenhouse gas emissions.
Speculation that the President will push for federal Cap-and-Trade regulations, carbon taxes, or a denial of proposed projects such as the Keystone Oil Pipeline are being discussed and argued amongst those for and against such things.