Bush predicts doom without his energy policy
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MAY 18, 2001

President Bush unveiled his long awaited national energy policy on Thursday as he embarked on a three-city tour to push a plan which immediately drew criticism from Democrats and environmentalists and praise from Republicans and industry groups.

But while the administration has positioned the policy as providing long-term solutions, Bush wasted no time in drawing attention to the energy problems currently facing California and the West Coast. Unless the nation fails to embrace his plan, other parts of the country will soon be faced with their own crises, he warned.

"If we fail to act on this plan, energy prices will continue to rise. If we fail to act, Americans will face more and more widespread blackouts," said Bush in St. Paul, Minnesota. "If we fail to act, our country will become more reliant on foreign crude oil, putting our national energy security into the hands of foreign nations, some of whom do not share our interests."

The threats, however, did little to stem the flow of attacks on Bush's plan. California lawmakers and officials, including Governor Gray Davis (D), criticized Bush for using the state as an energy scapegoat without providing any immediate solutions to consumers there.

Democrats also blasted the policy as one focused on production rather than conservation. "It looks like the annual report of Exxon Mobil, and maybe that is about what it is," said House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.).

For Republican lawmakers, Bush's plan was music to their ears. They promised to start pushing through its proposals as soon as possible and plan to offer additional ones.

Industry groups also welcomed the policy. Naturally, Arctic Power, a pro-drilling lobbying group based in Alaska, praised the recommendation to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development.

"The President is to be commended for understanding that without oil and gas from ANWR an energy plan is really no plan at all," said Roger Herrera, a coordinator for the group which the Alaska Legislature has funded with $1.85 million and is proposed to receive $2 million more.

Of the report's 105 recommendations, 42 affect conservation and environmental protection, 35 address increasing supply, and 25 involve efforts to increase international energy resources.

Conservation-oriented recommendations include:
  • increase funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development programs
  • review existing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.
  • propose legislation to fund land conservation efforts
  • propose legislation to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury from electric power generators

Recommendations on the production side include:
  • open up a "small fraction" of ANWR to oil and gas development
  • propose drilling in other federal lands, such as the Rocky Mountains and off the coasts of California and Florida
  • streamline licensing for nuclear power plants and create a national nuclear waste facility: Yucca Mountain, Nevada is under review
  • streamline licensing for hydropower projects

In addition to his visit to Minnesota, Bush made an appearance in Nevada, Iowa, yesterday. Today, he will travel to Conestoga, Pennsylvania.

Get the Policy:
Reliable, Affordable, and Environmentally Sound Energy for America’s Future (The White House 5/17)
ERRATA: Corrections (The White House 5/17)

Get Bush's Remarks in Minnesota:
Text | RealAudio

Relevant Links:
Gwich'in Steering Committee -
Oil Issues in ANWR, US Fish and Wildlife -
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, US Fish and Wildlife Service -
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Pro-Development site -

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