Election 2004: Candidates on National Energy Policy

Q: PRIMEDIA Business: Over the course of the past few decades, our nation has been faced with a dilemma of operating without a National Energy Policy. What are the details of a policy that you want to encourage and develop for the nation? Explain your policy for the following: Your position on developing our natural resources while at the same time protecting the environment. Explain how you will advance environmentally friendly technologies to increase energy supplies and encourage cleaner, more-efficient energy use. Explain how you would address the modernization of our energy infrastructure, including: the network of generating facilities, transmission lines, pipelines and refineries that convert raw resources into usable fuel and power.

President George W. Bush

A: President Bush: America needs a national energy policy to reduce America's dependence on foreign sources of energy, as well as to create jobs and keep the economy growing. As one of my first acts in office, I crafted a comprehensive National Energy Policy (NEP) to increase domestic energy production, support alternative and renewable energy, invest in our aging energy infrastructure, and promote energy efficiency and conservation. The NEP report included more than 100 recommendations, nearly half of which addressed renewable energy and energy efficiency. To help the economy expand and to keep energy prices affordable, my comprehensive energy plan recommended increased production of all sources of energy, including oil and gas, clean coal, solar, wind, ethanol, biodiesel, biomass, hydropower and other renewables, as well as safe and clean nuclear power. I have sought more funding for energy-efficiency and renewable energy programs than has been provided in any year during the last two decades. I have also called on Congress to reauthorize the production tax credit to expand the use of wind power and to pass a renewable fuels standard, which would require using 5 billion gallons of domestically produced, cleaner burning ethanol and biodiesel in gasoline. In addition, my budget calls for a $4000 tax credit for people who purchase hybrid vehicles. These measures will help ensure American energy security and create new high-paying jobs in renewable energy industries. In 2003, I announced the largest increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in 20 years for light trucks. This will result in savings of approximately 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline over the lifetime of these trucks. My CAFE plan is responsible and technologically feasible, and will not jeopardize passenger safety or American auto jobs. Additionally, I called for development of just 2000 acres in Alaska (out of a total 19 million acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge). The single step could produce up to 1 million barrels of oil a day for the next 20 years, dramatically increasing America's domestic production and enhancing our national security. In the longer term, we must transform America's energy infrastructure to support a hydrogen-based economy. I announced two important measures during my 2003 State of the Union Address that will help make a hydrogen economy possible. My budget supports $1.7 billion over five years for the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative and a public-private partnership called Freedom CAR, which will work to create automobiles that run on clean-burning hydrogen.

Senator John Kerry

A: Senator Kerry: Oil prices have hit historic highs and some economists believe they could climb higher. Yet even as gas prices reach the highest levels and America has become more dependent on foreign oil than ever before, the Bush-Cheney Administration has done nothing. We understand that soaring energy costs are burdening middle class families and businesses and that our dependence on Middle East oil is putting our national security at risk. America will be safer when the resources that fuel our economy are in our own hands and developed right here in America. The goals of our energy plan are to maintain a secure America, independent of Middle East oil; to lower energy bills for American consumers; to establish American leadership in clean energy jobs of the 21st century and focusing on the energy of the past to developing the clean energy of the future. We will establish an Energy Trust Fund in order to establish a more secure energy future. Capitalized with more than $20 billion from existing federal offshore oil and gas royalty revenues-to create a permanent funding stream to develop new clean fuels and technologies for our future. We will strengthen the fuel efficiency of automobiles; help plants retool; help Americans purchase more advanced technology vehicles by establishing consumer incentives of up to $5000 per vehicle for the purchase of clean, efficient vehicles; and use the purchasing power of the federal government toward supporting the market for hybrid and advanced diesel vehicles.

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