By Alan Silverleib and Tom Cohen
January 27, 2012
(CNN) — President Barack Obama will talk about keeping college affordable during the final leg of his road trip focusing on themes announced in the State of the Union address.
Obama’s speech at the University of Michigan will be his second there since he took office as he gave the commencement speech in 2010.
On Thursday, Obama spoke in Las Vegas about increased federal investment in clean energy and told a crowd in Colorado that America must compete in a global growth industry.
The federal government on Thursday announced plans to sell off oil and gas leases on 38 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico seafloor in a new domestic energy push.
The leases could yield as much as 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Interior Department estimates. The sale scheduled in June will be the second since the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010 when nearly 5 million barrels of crude spewed into the Gulf.
Obama mentioned the planned lease sales in his remarks at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado, which has a 1-megawatt solar array and last year test-piloted jets that run on advanced biofuels.
“We are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” he told the military crowd in detailing his strategy to increase domestic oil and gas development while promoting investment and innovation in clean energy development.
His energy proposals come amid criticism from Republicans and the oil industry for the administration’s rejection of a permit to build a pipeline to transport oil from Canada’s tar sands production in northern Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.
Obama has said the permit was rejected because Republicans forced a decision before there was time for a necessary review of a proposed route change requested by Nebraska officials, including the state’s Republican governor. The president also said the rejection was due to timing, rather than the merits of the project that would create several thousand jobs for the two-year construction period.
In his remarks earlier Thursday at a UPS facility in Las Vegas, Obama called his energy plan an “all-out, all-in, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.”
Among other things, Obama promised more federal assistance for local governments to upgrade their automotive fleets while also pushing new tax incentives for cleaner corporate vehicles.
The president also said the administration is working to develop up to five highway natural gas corridors, and he announced a new competition to encourage the development of breakthroughs for natural gas vehicles.
“We’ve got to keep at it. Think about what could happen if we do,” Obama said. “Think about an America where more cars and trucks are running on domestic natural gas than on foreign oil. Think about an America where our companies are leading the world in developing natural gas technology and creating a generation of new energy jobs. … We can do this.”
The president’s remarks Friday will come on the last day of a three-day road trip building on themes announced in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.
CNN’s Matt Smith contributed to this report.