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Bush Promotes Energy Policies at Power Plant - 2003-09-15

President Bush promoted his energy policies at a power plant in the state of Michigan. This politically important state was one of several affected by last month's blackout in parts of the United States and Canada.

The blackout affected American cities and towns from Michigan to the east coast. As a result, repairing the region's aging electric grid is a major issue in the campaign for next year's national election. So too is job creation.

President Bush says they are intertwined, noting reliable sources of energy are necessary to build the economy and create jobs. Speaking to workers at Detroit Edison's Monroe power plant, he recalled the day the lights went out.

"It might have been good for candle sales, but it certainly was not good for job growth," he said. "It recognizes that we have got an issue with our electricity grid. And we need to modernize it."

The president called on Congress to support a set of energy and environmental proposals already put forward by the White House. He said they will promote reliable energy production and the economy while protecting the environment.

"One of the things we have got to do is encourage companies to invest in new technologies and convince utilities to modernize their equipment so they can produce more energy and pollute less," he said. "In other words, as technologies come on, we want to encourage companies to invest in those technologies."

Among the initiatives being promoted by the White House is one called "Clear Skies," which would phase in caps on several pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, which can cause smog.

Environmental groups say the levels proposed by the president are not as stringent as those included in current law. They note the White House is not asking for curbs on emissions of carbon dioxide, which is blamed for global warming.