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Bush Pushing Alternative Energy


President Bush says investments in alternative sources of energy will help reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. The president spoke at a federally-funded research laboratory in Colorado.

President Bush says it is an important national goal to lower America's reliance on foreign oil.

"I have spent a lot of time worrying about the national security implications of being addicted to oil, particularly from parts of the world where people may not agree with our policy or our way of life," said George W. Bush.

The president says alternative sources of energy are a national security issue at a time when 60 percent of the crude oil used by U.S. refineries comes from outside the country.

He wants Congress to boost funding for research into cleaner-burning coal and more cost-effective solar and wind energy.

Mr. Bush spoke at the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory where 32 jobs were cut earlier this month.

Five million dollars from the Energy Department restored those jobs in advance of the president's visit. He told employees there that the nation appreciates their work and their funding issues have been "cleared-up."

"The issue of course is whether or not good intentions are met with actual dollars spent," he said. "Part of the issue we face, unfortunately, is that sometimes decisions are made, but as a result of the appropriations process, the money may not end up where it was supposed to have gone."

The president says he wants to reduce U.S. oil imports from the Middle East by 75 percent during the next two decades. One of the ways to achieve that goal is for Americans to make greater use of fuels from agricultural materials, including ethanol, which is now made mostly from corn.

Mr. Bush says technological advances will make it possible to produce ethanol more cheaply from grasses and agricultural waste such as stalks and leaves.

He says there are also promising advances in developing more efficient batteries to power hybrid automobiles which are capable of running on either electricity or petroleum.

"I want the people to know we are close," said President Bush. "The hybrid vehicles you are buying today are an important part of making sure you save money when it comes to driving. But they are going to change with the right research and development. Technology will make it so that the hybrid vehicles are even better in getting us less addicted on oil and making it good for the consumers' pocketbook."

President Bush says the government is encouraging alternative energy with a more than $3,000 tax credit for the purchase of hybrid vehicles.

The president began this tour to promote his energy initiative with visits Monday to a commercial research lab in the Midwest state of Wisconsin and a solar power manufacturer in the Midwest state of Michigan.