U.K.: Obama aims for oil independence

BBC

US President Barack Obama has called for US energy independence, saying reliance on foreign oil and global warming posed threats to the country.

Outlining his energy priorities, he said the country would not be held “hostage to dwindling resources, hostile regimes, and a warming planet”.

He called for greater fuel efficiency and an “energy economy” aimed at creating millions of jobs.

He also ordered a review of whether states can set car emission standards.

This challenges a Bush administration decision which favoured a national standard for vehicle pollution.

At his first White House news conference since becoming president, Mr Obama said he would reverse America’s dependence on foreign oil while creating jobs, but warned there was no “quick fix”.

A customer at a petrol pump

Mr Obama wants fuel efficiency to improve

“We will commit ourselves to steady, focused, pragmatic pursuit of an America that is freed from our energy dependence, and empowered by a new energy economy that puts millions of our citizens to work.”

He added: “Now is the time to meet the challenge of this crossroads of history, by choosing a future safer for our country, prosperous for our planet, and sustainable.”

Mr Obama ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review its refusal of a waiver which had previously allowed California to set its own – stricter – vehicle emission and fuel efficiency standards.

He said California had taken bold moves in implementing the standards.

Mr Obama said: “The days of Washington dragging its heels are over.

“My administration will not deny facts. We will be guided by them.”

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