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Bush Pushes Energy Plan

President Bush is campaigning for support for his plan to cut America's reliance on foreign sources of energy. During a stop in the state of Wisconsin, the president stressed it is a matter of national and economic security.

The president's words were blunt, as he spoke again of what he says is the threat to the nation posed by its addiction to foreign oil.

He said some of the oil-producing nations that do business with the United States have unstable governments, or fundamental differences with America.

"These countries know we need their oil, and that reduces influence," said George W. Bush. "It creates a national security issue when we are held hostage for energy by foreign nations that may not like us."

President Bush said the answer is a commitment to producing alternative fuels and new technologies.

He said the first objective is to encourage the development of vehicles that use less gasoline, such as so-called hybrid cars that run on a combination of gas and electricity.

Mr. Bush said the nation is on the threshold of advances that will, in his words, startle people.

"The American people will be amazed at how far our technology has advanced, in order to meet an important goal, which is to reduce our imports from the Middle East by 75 percent by 2025, and, eventually, getting rid of our dependence totally," he said.

The president had the perfect audience for an address on alternative sources of energy. He spoke to employees of a company that is working on new types of batteries for hybrid cars.

Mr. Bush said the transportation sector is one half of the energy problem. He said finding better ways to meet the everyday electrical power needs of the nation is the other.

The president cited recent advances in clean coal and solar technologies. But he also stressed the need to promote the use of nuclear power, at home and abroad.

Mr. Bush emphasized there has not been a new nuclear power plant built in the United States for decades. He said that must change. He also talked about steps to help other countries increase their access to nuclear power, with appropriate safeguards.

"This is a global world in which we live, and demand for oil in China and India affects prices here in America," continued President Bush. "And, so, therefore, if we can relieve the pressure off of demand for fossil fuels, it helps the entire world."

Opposition Democrats in Congress have complained the president's plan to ease the nation's reliance on foreign oil does not go far enough, and is unlikely to provide American consumers with relief from escalating energy prices.