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President Bush Proposes New Energy Initiatives

In his State of the Union address, President Bush called for new domestic initiatives aimed at decreasing gas consumption by expanding the role of alternative fuels. Three energy experts analyze the viability of the president's proposed energy reforms.

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  • MARGARET WARNER:

    President Bush took to the road today to tout his new energy plan. His first stop: a DuPont research complex that produces alternative fuel from grasses and wood chips.

    In remarks later at a Wilmington hotel, he repeated his call for measures he said would advance U.S. energy independence and protect the environment.

    GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States: I made the case last night to the American people that we have got to do something about our dependence on oil for two reasons.

    One, dependence on oil provides an economic and national security risk, a problem that this country better start dealing with in a serious fashion now before it becomes acute.

    And, second, we've got to be wise stewards of the environment, and dependency on oil makes it harder to be wise stewards of the environment.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    The centerpiece of his plan: cutting gasoline use by 20 percent from projected levels within 10 years. That goal would be achieved by mandating that fuel makers quadruple their production of renewable and alternative fuels, including ethanol; and by raising fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, but applying the standards more flexibly.

    The president remains opposed to Congress setting new mandatory mileage standards.

    The president did not speak of global warming today. But last night, he said the changes he's proposed will help the U.S., quote, "confront the serious challenge of global climate change."

    Even stronger steps to combat climate change are being pushed elsewhere.

  • JAMES ROGERS, CEO, Duke Energy Corporation:

    The science of climate warming is clear. We know enough to act now; we must act now.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    This week, a group of corporate chief executives, from giant manufacturers like DuPont and big power companies like Duke Energy, urged Congress to impose limits on greenhouse gas emissions this year.

    Many members of Congress who listened to the president's plan last night are promoting more far-reaching ideas, too. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has created a Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Her goal: to pass legislation that will, quote, "declare America's energy independence" by July 4th.

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