Good morning. This week I outlined a new energy strategy for our Nation—more than 100 specific recommendations to promote energy conservation, enlarge and diversify our energy supply, and modernize the networks that link energy producers to energy consumers.
We need to act to protect family budgets. Since 1998, the energy bill of the average family has skyrocketed by 25 percent. That's a hardship for every family. We need to act to prevent more and more widespread blackouts. Blackouts disrupt businesses and put public health and safety at risk. We need to act to reduce our reliance on foreign crude oil. And if we fail to act, our environment will suffer as Government officials struggle to prevent blackouts in the only way possible, by calling on more polluting emergency backup generators and by running less efficient old powerplants too long and too hard. So we will act to protect our economy and to safeguard our environment.
Too often Americans are asked to take sides between energy production and environmental protection. The truth is, energy production and environmental protection are not competing priorities. Both can be achieved with new technology and a new vision.
Most of the new electric powerplants we build over the next 20 years will be fueled by clean and safe natural gas. Many of the others will be powered by wind, solar, hydropower, nuclear, and other energy sources that emit no pollution at all. New cars emit 95 percent less pollution than cars built 30 years ago. And my energy plan fosters the development of a new generation of cars that is even cleaner still.
Wise regulation and American innovation will make this country the world's leader in energy efficiency and conservation in the 21st century. We will use less and less additional energy to fuel more and more economic growth. Yet, even as we grow more efficient, we will always require some additional energy to power our expanding economy.
Advanced new technologies allow entrepreneurs to find oil and to extract it in ways that leave nature undisturbed. Where oil is found underneath sensitive landscapes, rigs can now stand miles away from the oilfield and tap the reservoir at an angle. In Arctic sites, like ANWR, we can build roads on ice that literally melt away when summer comes and the drilling stops to protect wildlife.
I was just in Pennsylvania and paid a visit to the Susquehanna River. After years of being endangered, American shad have been restored to this great waterway, and the fish are thriving alongside the dam that is generating emission-free hydroelectric power to meet the needs of Pennsylvania's people.
It's time to leave behind rancorous old arguments and build a positive new consensus. With new technology, sound regulation, and plain good sense, we can expand our energy production while protecting the environment. And that is exactly what my energy approach is designed to do.
Thank you for listening.