Obama on the Record: Fuel Efficiency Standards

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President Obama gestures at auto industry leaders and government officials during the announcement of new fuel and emission standards for cars and trucks. (Source: White House)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. Please, everybody have a seat — have a seat. What an extraordinary day. The sun is out because good things are happening. Before I get started, just some preliminary introductions — I’ll probably repeat them in my formal remarks, but I want to make sure that I acknowledge some people who have been critical to this effort and critical to so many efforts at the state and federal levels.

First of all, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has just been cracking the whip and, you know, making Congress so productive over these last several days. We are grateful for her. My wonderful Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, is in the house. Lisa Jackson, the outstanding administrator of EPA. Some of the finest governors in the country are here — let me take them in order of good looks — sorry, Arnold. (Laughter.) Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. (Applause.) Barbara Boxer just had to leave — the head of the Environment Committee in the Senate, who’d done just outstanding work. And Senators Feinstein, Levin and Stabenow couldn’t be here because they’re busy voting on credit card legislation that we’re going to get done before Memorial Day.

And we’ve got two outstanding members of the House of Representatives, John Dingell — where’s John? Right here. The Dean of the House who’s done so much extraordinary work around these issues, Sandy Levin. Please give them a round of applause. (Applause.)

I also want to mention Ron Gettlefinger of the UAW, our president who’s just been a great leader during some very trying times in the auto industry, and Carol Browner, who helped to make this all happen today. Please give Carol Browner a big round of applause. (Applause.)

Since I’m acknowledging everybody — I’m in a voluble mood today — let me go ahead and acknowledge my other members of the Cabinet who are here who are part of our energy green team and do just outstanding work on an ongoing basis. First of all, my Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. (Applause.) The guy who’s just cleaning up the Department of Interior and doing an extraordinary job, Ken Salazar. (Applause.) Our head of HUD, Shaun Donovan. (Applause.) And our Commerce Secretary, Gary Locke. (Applause.)

Now, thank you all for coming to the White House today, and for coming together around what I consider to be a historic agreement to help America break its dependence on oil, reduce harmful pollution, and begin the transition to a clean energy economy.

This is an extraordinary gathering. Here we have today standing behind me, along with Ron Gettlefinger and leadership of the UAW, we have 10 of the world’s largest auto manufacturers, we have environmental advocates, as well as elected officials from all across the country.

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