Obama to Promote $2B Energy Research Fund

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

After three days of meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, President Obama is shifting gears today, venturing outside the Beltway to deliver the first energy speech of his second term, one that will promote research into fossil fuel alternatives.

The president will promote his "all-of-the-above" energy strategy and plan to reduce the nation's dependence on oil during a visit to the research facilities at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago in Argonne, Ill.

Obama is calling on Congress to establish a new Energy Security Trust, urging them to set aside $2 billion over ten years to support research into "cost-effective technologies."

According to the White House, the trust is "designed to invest in breakthrough research that will make the technologies of the future cheaper and better - technologies that will protect American families from spikes in gas prices and allow us to run our cars and trucks on electricity or homegrown fuels."

The trust will be funded from royalties the government receives from offshore drilling on the outer continental shelf. "It squirrels away a set of resources that even in a difficult budgetary environment, will give researchers in the private sector certainty," a White House official explained.

The president first proposed the idea in his State of the Union address, touting it as a way to "drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good."

House Speaker John Boehner's office today said there's not enough oil production on federal lands to fund the proposed trust. "For this proposal to even be plausible, oil and gas leasing on federal land would need to increase dramatically. Unfortunately, this administration has consistently slowed, delayed, and blocked American energy production," a Boehner spokesman said.