Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, Talks Caps, Solar and Drilling With ABC News

A: I think the senators are being very careful to ensure that doesn't happen, that there are phase-in periods, so that we can bring online the new technology. There is a long history. As you know, I was at the EPA for eight years. There's a long history of EPA setting environmental standards and people suggesting that life as we know it is going to grind to a halt. In fact, what happens, once we have the certainty and predictability, American ingenuity rises to the occasion, and we find an answer more cheaply and more quickly than anyone had anticipated and it allows us to lead the world in that new technology. I meet with CEOs day in and day out and there are lots of people prepared to make investments in the new technologies which will allow us to meet the needs of America in terms of security, in terms of electricity production and in terms of a cleaner environment. But we have to give them the rules of the road.

We think that there are tremendous opportunities in terms of jobs, if we get the legislation structured properly. Right now the business community is telling us that they won't make capital investments in renewable technology because they don' know what the rules will be. They want predictability and certainty when they make those capital investments.

Nothing's Changed on Drilling

Q: In 2008, candidate Obama made a speech in Jacksonville saying offshore drilling has-long term effects on the coastlines, and wouldn't do a thing for oil prices. What has changed?

A: Well, first thing, you have to put that statement into context. It was made at a moment when gas prices were rising and Republicans were saying let's drill, we can lower gas prices. Obviously, drilling doesn't affect near-term prices. Nothing's changed. The president has always believed we need to break our dependence on foreign oil, and one of the ways to do that is to expand our domestic drilling. That's what we've announced last week, a very balanced responsible for doing that. We also announced on Thursday more fuel-efficient cars as an important component to breaking our dependence, not just more drilling here, but also better use of efficiency technology. That announcement with the car companies will achieve on average 35.5 miles per gallon by model year 2016; for cars it's as high as 39 miles per gallon. The Congress has said we needed to get to 35 by 2020, so by working in partnership with the automobile manufacturers, the state of California and others, we were able to achieve greater fuel efficiency and thereby cost savings for the American people.

Q: What can individuals do if they want to take advantage of some of the tax incentives or rebates offered in the stimulus?

A: There are rebates in the stimulus and, hopefully, Congress is going to add some additional ones though the Home Star legislation. Most of the existing tax rebates are focused on updates to insulation, updates to heating and cooling systems. We make small amounts of our electricity from oil. Most of our electricity is made from coal and nuclear, a small amount is made from renewables and, hopefully, we're going to grow that, and have been growing that since the president came to office. But the issue when it comes from electricity is making sure we are using our existing electricity more efficiently so a lot of the tax credits that were in the recovery act are focused on efficiency.

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