As President Obama said in his speech, America has postponed getting off our oil addiction for decades. In the late 1970s, President Carter made the first call to wean ourselves off from oil - if we had done it then, the job would have been completed in 1985.
Recent polls show that Americans want the government to prioritize renewable energy. A poll conducted by Benenson Strategy Group found that 63% of likely 2010 voters support an energy bill that limits pollution and encourages companies to use and develop clean energy.
Why then is the energy bill languishing in the Senate? The House approved a bill a year ago, and versions have passed in Senate committees. It's time for a Senate vote, but like every single bill since Obama entered office, Republicans filibustered it, forcing 60 votes for passage instead of a simple majority.
Those 60 votes are nowhere to be found because conservative Democrats and all Republicans are against the bill. How can that be if the majority of Americans are in favor of it?
Typical criticisms of the bill - it will destroy jobs, destroy our economy and increase taxes -
are simply not true.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its analysis of the bill a few days ago. It concludes the opposite is true: the American Power Act will boost our economy, create jobs and reduce costs for American families and businesses.
Passing the American Power Act, according to the EPA, would create 440,000 jobs a year through 2020 and 540,000 jobs a year through 2030 while saving families $35 a year on utility bills. And it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45%.
The most controversial part of the bill is the cap on carbon emissions, but it is that very cap that is pivotal in reaping the rewards of industry and job growth.
A carbon cap would trigger the transition to energy efficiency and clean energy by making fossil fuels more expensive. It is the very investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy that would spark economic activity. The cap drives job gains in many sectors, including manufacturing, construction, services, and trade.
Comprehensive energy and climate legislation would shift energy investments and expenditures over the coming decades to new technologies, such as efficient appliances, green and healthy building materials and systems, and wind, solar, geothermal and tidal energy. Clean technologies would comprise a much larger share of the energy economy - the direction we want to go in.
Electricity and natural gas prices would rise because of carbon prices, but those increases would be more than offset by reduced energy consumption and utility rebates. Efficiency investments lead to immediate employment increases because the work is labor intensive, and lead to long term increases in GDP from energy savings and lower carbon prices. EPA projects the legislation would save $312 billion in the economy through 2030, a third from industrial efficiency and the remainder from building retrofits.