- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2009

President Obama said Wednesday he will use roughly $467 million in stimulus money for initiatives that in two years will double the country’s capacity for clean, renewable energy.

The first initiative is to develop solar-technology programs across the country similar to one that provides roughly 25 percent of the electricity for the Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, where the president spoke.

The second is to develop domestic geothermal energy throughout the country.

“We know the cost of our oil addiction all too well,” Mr. Obama said. “Its the cost measured by the billions of dollars we send to nations with unstable or unfriendly regimes. Its the cost of our vulnerability to the volatility of the oil markets.”

The solar-panel site near the base is a former landfill that provides electricity for the roughly 12,000 people who live and work there. The public-private project cost $100 million and covers 140 acres.

Mr. Obama said geothermal energy is literally defined as “heat from the earth” and that it can be “harnessed as a clean, affordable and reliable source of energy.”

The president made the stop as part of a Western trip to fundraise and promote his economic policies.

He said that the first 100 days of the Recovery Act has saved or created nearly 150,000 jobs, in part through construction projects, and that 54 million seniors have received $250 extra in their Social Security checks.

The act also has extended benefits for laid-off workers, called for more fuel-efficient vehicles, helped energy-efficient homeowners save hundreds of dollars on utility bills, and provided first-time home buyers with thousands in tax credits, Mr. Obama said.

The president said the act will extend over the next two years to “clear away the wreckage” of the recession and ensure such a crisis never occurs again.

“We cannot return to a bubble-and-bust economy based on maxed-out credit cards, over-leveraged banks and financial profits that were only real on paper,” he said.

The office of House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, called the plan “anything but the ‘timely, targeted and temporary’ bill Washington Democrats promised earlier this year.”

Mr. Boehner cited reports about state officials having problems getting grants for construction projects and evidence of pet projects, including $50 million for habitat restoration in the San Francisco Bay area. He said a full analysis of the spending will not be complete until October.

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