On October 1, 2012, President Obama proclaimed October 2012 as National Energy Action Month, further promoting his administration’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. As of this writing, President Obama has issued 12 Presidential Proclamations in October 2012.
What is a presidential proclamation? It was surprisingly difficult to find a specific answer. The most comprehensive information I located came from a 1999 Congressional Report prepared by John Contrubis entitled Executive Orders and Proclamations.
There is no specific provision in the Constitution authorizing the President to issue executive orders and proclamations. However, it is generally accepted that the President derives his authority to act from Article II of the Constitution.
To summarize: Proclamations are directives or actions by the President. Proclamations usually affect primarily the activities of private individuals. The President has no power or authority over individual citizens and their rights except where he is granted such power and authority by a provision in the Constitution or by statute. The President’s proclamations are not legally binding and are at best hortatory (urging some course of conduct or action; exhorting; encouraging) unless based on such grants of authority.
National Energy Action Month Presidential Proclamation
The National Energy Action Month proclamation refers to President Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy which covers everything from nuclear power to biofuels. Accomplishments in renewable energy, higher auto fuel efficiency standards and domestic oil and gas production increases are highlighted. Greenhouse gas emission reduction is mentioned. Job creation is touched upon.
The creativity, drive and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people are said to be our greatest natural resource and we are called to action by the President.
“I call upon the citizens of the United States to recognize this month by working together to achieve greater energy security, a more robust economy, and a healthier environment for our children.”
What action we are to take or how we are to accomplish it is left up to us.
After reading the proclamation, I pondered what action to take for National Energy Action Month. I decided to focus my first action on learning, specifically learning about the Obama Administration’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. That led me to the Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future document published March 30, 2011.
Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future
The 44-page Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future describes the “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. After the introduction and executive summary, there are 3 main sections, each one broken into The Challenge, Progress to Date, and Moving Forward.
- Develop and Secure America’s Energy Supplies
- Provide Consumers with Choices to Reduce Costs and Save Energy
- Innovate Our Way to a Clean Energy Future
Develop and Secure America’s Energy Supplies
This section covers opening public lands and federal waters for expansion of safe and responsible oil and gas production. New safety reforms and regulations, some as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, are discussed. Shorter lease terms and rewarding rapid development are identified as potential means of encouraging companies to develop resources on public lands or step aside. Natural gas “fracking” is identified as an area for review. A global perspective is provided on subjects such as securing energy supplies, electric vehicles, clean energy technologies, nuclear energy, and energy efficiency…
Provide Consumers with Choices to Reduce Costs and Save Energy
Emphasis is placed on increasing car and truck fuel efficiency. Other topics include advancing electric vehicle battery performance, public transportation, and alternative transportation. Another aspect is building energy reduction. Programs for cutting energy usage are coupled with rebates and other incentives to encourage homeowners and business owners to make energy-saving investments.
Innovate Our Way to a Clean Energy Future
The President’s Clean Energy Standard (CES) is described. Ideas include eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and using the funds to support clean energy innovation and deploying smart grid technologies. An Executive Order has directed federal agencies to lead by example through implementing energy efficiency measures in over 500,000 federal buildings and more than 600,000 vehicles in the federal fleet.
A one-year progress report summarizes accomplishments to March 2012.
I don’t agree with every aspect of the energy blueprint. I do appreciate the opportunity to take action to learn about what the federal government plans to do, has done, and is doing to implement the “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.
What action are you going to take during National Energy Action Month?