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Bush Calls for Steps to Expand Energy Production


Energy prices for American consumers have skyrocketed in recent months, and the White House is coming under pressure to take action to at least ease the situation in the short term.

George Bush

President Bush says there is no quick easy fix to America's energy woes. Mr. Bush says the key to dealing with ever-rising oil prices is a set of initiatives that will work over the course of years to expand domestic energy production and conservation.

But the president is standing by the energy legislation he sent to Congress shortly after taking office, saying he prefers an approach that "goes to the root of the problem."

"Our supply of energy is not growing fast enough to meet the demands of our growing economy," he said. "Over the past decade, America's energy consumption has increased by more than 12 percent, yet our domestic production has increased by less than one-half of one percent."

His plan calls for boosting the search for oil in places like Alaska's Arctic wildlife reserve, steps to encourage development of alternative fuels, and conservation incentives for businesses and consumers.

Several elements of the plan have proven controversial, with environmentalists warning that wilderness areas will be destroyed, and corporations will get most of the benefits. In the years since the president's proposal was introduced in Congress, little has been achieved.

In a speech to a group of Hispanic businessmen and women, the president said he wants to see final approval before Congress breaks in August for its annual summer recess. He said the stakes are high.

"Our dependence on foreign energy is like a foreign tax on the American dream: a tax our citizens pay every day in higher gas prices, higher costs to heat and cool their homes, a tax on jobs," he said.

An energy bill that includes elements of the president's plan is now before the House of Representatives and is expected to win approval. The situation is very different in the Senate, where energy legislation has been stalled in the past.

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