With its new budget, the Obama administration has made clear that it intends to make energy policy a cornerstone of its agenda. The Obama budget proposes to invest $15 billion each year over the next 10 years in wind and solar energy as well as in developing energy efficient vehicles.

Some of these resources will be raised by implementing a ‘cap-and-trade’ system of selling permits for emitting greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Heavy polluters will be required to purchase these permits. If they emit pollution under the amount capped by their permit, they will be allowed to trade the surplus to another firm that needs additional permits.

Many independent environmental experts believe that a cap-and-trade system will provide the financial resources to develop green technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and an incentive for polluters to alter their production processes by adopting those new technologies.

In a teleconference with reporters last week, White House Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Rob Nabors stated that some of the funds raised in this cap-and-trade system will also help pay for the administration’s proposed tax cut for working families.

The Obama budget also boosts funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by $3 billion for clean-up and public health protection.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said, ‘We are no longer faced with the false choice of a strong economy or a clean environment. The president’s budget shows that making critical and responsible investments in protecting the health and environment of all Americans will also lead to a more vibrant and stable economy.’

The president’s environmental and energy proposals won praise from environmental activists such as Carl Pope, head of the Sierra Club. In a , Pope described the proposals and their comprehensiveness as ‘bold’ and ‘almost incomprehensibly exciting.’