Obama claims US voters face stark choice over energy

President Barack Obama in his party’s nomination acceptance speech says that American voters on 6 November will face the “clearest choice of any time in a generation” over energy policy and other core issues.

In the 6 September speech, Obama said that renewable energy use during his administration had doubled, and that thousands of Americans have jobs building wind turbines and storage batteries.

In 2011, the US reduced oil imports by one million barrels a day and the country is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades, he told delegates at the Democratic Party national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He told delegates and a nationwide television audience that after “30 years of inaction", his administration raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. That will save millions of barrels of oil a year.

“Now you have a choice between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more.

"But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines,” he says, referring to their request to expand offshore drilling.

Obama vowed not to allow oil companies to collect “another $4bn in corporate welfare from our taxpayers,” without explaining how he would prevent this from occurring.

Obama pledged to offer a “better path” toward a future of continued investment in wind, solar and “clean coal", while developing new-generation biofuels and gas fields.

“If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone,” he claimed.

Obama’s Republican challenger, former Massachusetts governor and businessman Mitt Romney, opposes federal government incentives for renewable energy, and believes that wind and solar are not cost effective. He also wants to boost utilisation of the country’s massive coal reserves for electricity generation.

Polls show Obama leading Romney by two to five percentage points nationwide, within the margin of error in some surveys.

Obama claimed: “On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America.”

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