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Bush Touts Energy Alternatives On Midwestern Tour February 20, 2006

Posted by notapundit in Main, White House.

MILWAUKEE (AP)–Seeking to fuel his own agenda, President George W. Bush encouraged Americans to change their energy consumption habits and help move the nation away from its reliance on oil.

“I think we’re in an important moment in history,” Bush said during his first stop of a Presidents Day tour of the Midwest. “We have a chance to transform the way we power our economy, and the way we lead our lives.”

Bush spoke Monday at the buildings division of Johnson Controls Inc., which sells products designed to make its customers’ properties more energy efficient.

The president and members of his Cabinet are crisscrossing the country this week to tout the energy ideas he presented in his State of the Union address. The focus on energy is part of an effort in each of the weeks since the speech to highlight a different topic.

Bush’s broad goal is to steer the nation toward energy independence and away from what he calls an addiction to oil – a habit he says threatens the nation’s economy and security.

Bush has placed energy improvement alongside education and health care as essential parts of making the U.S. more competitive with its global peers.

But energy is also a political issue in this midterm election year, one that hits home for people dealing with expensive winter heating and gasoline costs.

Democrats have derided Bush’s proposals as recycled ideas that offer no short-term relief.

In Wisconsin, Bush put technological advancement in everyday terms – cell phone batteries that last longer, and lighter automotive parts that allow cars to go farther on a gallon of gas.

Earlier Monday, in nearby Glendale, Wis., Bush toured a technology center of Johnson Controls, which is also a prominent maker of automotive batteries. The company recently launched a new lab to study power-storage for hybrid-electric vehicles, an idea that Bush embraces.

At the site, Bush peered into the back end of two Ford Escapes, one equipped with a nickel-metal hydride battery, the other with a newer Lithium-ion battery that was about half the size.

Bush says that advances in solar, wind and nuclear energy could change the way Americans power their homes and offices, and that boosting alternative fuels could revamp transportation.

“By changing our driving habits,” Bush said, “we change our dependency on foreign sources of oil.”

Increasing the use of nuclear power is another piece of Bush’s energy package. The United States abandoned nuclear fuel reprocessing in the 1970s because of nuclear proliferation concerns, but Bush favors a new approach that advocates say poses much less risk.

“I think we ought to start building nuclear power plants again,” Bush said Monday. “I think it makes sense to do so.”

Later in the day, Bush was to tour a solar energy plan in Auburn Hills, Mich., underscoring his push for investment in clean electric power sources. He was then heading to Colorado, where he planned to speak at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on Tuesday.


1. alison - February 21, 2006

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