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Bush, Kerry Claim Environmental Leadership

Energy, conservation and the environment have been important issues in recent presidential campaigns -- and this year's candidates both maintain they are the planet's better friend.

Likely Democratic presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry, says he has been a top leader on the environment throughout his political career. If elected president, he has pledged to continue to work to clean up toxic waste sites, the air and water, and to protect pristine wilderness areas.

He also has vowed to pursue technologies for alternative fuels, making the United States independent of Middle Eastern oil in 10 years. He has criticized President Bush for a lack of leadership on the environment.

For his part, Mr. Bush says he has taken an active role in protecting the environment. In his State of the Union address this year, President Bush announced a one-point-two-billion-dollar hydrogen fuel initiative to reverse U-S dependence on foreign oil. Mr. Bush also says his nearly 45-billon-dollar environment budget request this year is the highest ever.

Environmental groups have generally criticized the Bush administration's record, saying many of the president's actions have benefited industry without helping the environment.