Info Alert: Environment Committee Topics of Interest in the President’s State of the Union Address

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info alert
Feb. 15, 2013

On Feb. 12, President Obama delivered his fourth State of the Union address and touched on proposals to aid and improve our nation’s environment, energy, transportation and infrastructure sectors.
In discussing climate change, the president “urged Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution” and stated that without congressional action, he will “direct [his] Cabinet to come up with executive actions” to “reduce pollutions” and react to other climate change effects.
The president also proposed an “Energy Security Trust” to fund new research and technology to wean vehicles off of oil and pledged that his “administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”Additionally, the president announced a plan modeled after the educational reform program “Race to the Top”, in which “the states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.”
Regarding our nation’s infrastructure, the president proposed the “Fix-It-First” program, targeting $40 billion to upgrade urgent infrastructure needs across the country. In order to ensure taxpayers do not carry the complete cost-burden for this program, the president proposed “a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital” to work with the public in partnering to expand and repair our necessary needs like ports, roads, and pipelines. 
The White House released a blueprint that further outlines, issue by issue, the policy proposals the president made in his State of the Union speech. A full transcript of the president’s address and copy of a video of the speech can be found here.
In addition to the State of the Union, the White House issued an Executive Order on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity and a Presidential Policy Directive on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience. Please see the NCSL White House Cybersecurity Executive Order Info Alert for additional details on the Executive Order.