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Obama Pushes US To Meet Biofuel Goals

President Barack Obama wants the United States to move more quickly to increase its reliance on alternative fuels. A presidential panel advocates greater use of biofuels and clean coal technology.

President Obama says the U.S. should depend less on oil and more on so-called clean energy.

He says the country which builds a clean energy economy will own the 21st century global economy.  So far, the president says, that country is not the U.S., but China. "We can't afford to spin our wheels while the rest of the world speeds ahead," he said.

An energy task force tells Mr. Obama U.S. production of fuel from plants or animals is not likely to meet a goal set by Congress.  The current production is about one-third the level lawmakers have mandated by 2022.

The group wants more private and government money spent to help stimulate the production of fuel from sources like maize, sugar cane and wood chips.

The president is also encouraging increased production of coal, using environmentally friendly technology. "It has been said that the United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal, and that is because, as I said, it is one of our most abundant energy resources.  If we can develop the technology to capture the carbon pollution released by coal, it can create jobs and provide energy well into the future," he said.

As he met with governors from coal-producing states, Mr. Obama said he is working on a government strategy to put clean-coal technology into wide use within ten years.  

The president told the governors from both parties that politics will have to be put aside. "The bottom line is this:  I am convinced that America can win the race to build a clean-energy economy, but we are going to have to overcome the weight of our own politics.  We have to focus not so much on those narrow areas where we disagree but on the broad areas where we agree," he said.

Creating jobs through the development of clean energy and related technology is an important part of President Obama's strategy for boosting the U.S. economy.

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