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The BBC's Paul Reynolds
"Mr Bush has not so far addressed one point of criticism, that more energy will lead to more greenhouse gases"
 real 28k

Peter Chase, US Councillor for Economic Affairs
"You have to address a problem like this from both supply and demand sides"
 real 28k

Sir Robert May, president of the Royal Society
"Small actions now are disproportionately important"
 real 28k

Paul Gunter, Nuclear Information & Resource Service
"This is a very dangerous policy"
 real 56k

Friday, 18 May, 2001, 04:15 GMT 05:15 UK
Hostile reaction to Bush energy plan
Nuclear power station at San Onofre, CA
Bush's plan includes a boost for nuclear power
There has been widespread criticism of US President George W Bush's plans for meeting the future energy needs of the country by increasing reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Key points of Bush plan
Promote new oil and gas drilling
Build new nuclear plants
Improve electricity grid and build new pipelines
$10bn in tax breaks to promote energy efficiency and alternative fuels
Mr Bush said his national energy plan would "light the way to a brighter future" for the US, and tackle a decade of neglect in the energy sector.

But the head of United Nations Forum on Climate Change, Jan Pronk, called the plan a "disastrous development" because it would fail to cut emission of greenhouse gases.

Mr Bush's plan would encourage more oil exploration and greater use of coal and nuclear energy, while offering incentives for conservation and renewable energy sources.

With American households facing high petrol prices and California braced for rolling blackouts this summer, Mr Bush has made overhauling the nation's energy policies a priority.

Click here for a graph comparing international energy consumption

"No matter how well we conserve, we're still going to need more energy," he said. "If we fail to act, Americans will face more and more widespread blackouts."

His plan will boost domestic energy production and reduce reliance on imports.

"I can't think of anything better for national security than to replace barrels of oil that come into the country from nations that can't stand America - some of them don't - with products that we grow here in America," Bush told a cheering crowd, as he unveiled his plan in Iowa.

Domestic criticism

Several prominent Democrats were quick to attack the plan, indicating that the plan faces a tough battle in Congress.

Power lines in Los Angeles, CA
New electricity transmission lines will be built
House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt said: "We think the president's plan makes the wrong choices for America and for the American people."

And Democratic Senator Harry Reid complained that the GOP - the Republican Party's nickname - now stood for "Gas, Oil and Plutonium."

California Governor Gray Davis saw no relief for the energy crisis his state is facing, and accused the president of "turning a blind eye to the bleeding and haemorrhaging that is taking place in this state.

"We are literally in a war with energy companies who are price-gouging us. Many of those companies are in Texas," Mr Davis said.

"With all due respect, Mr President, Californians want to know whether you're going to be on their side."

Specific measures

The White House has earlier warned that the US faced the most serious energy shortage since the oil embargoes of the 1970s, with a fundamental imbalance between supply and demand.

President Bush addresses scientists at  Iowa Energy Center
President Bush has been on a tour to promote his energy policies
Mr Bush said the US could become more and more reliant on foreign crude oil, "putting our national energy security in the hand of foreign nations, some of whom do not share our interests".

The plans include increased oil exploration in an Arctic wildlife reserve, and an easing of regulations on oil refining, coal extraction and the building of new nuclear power plants.

The new energy policy includes plans to license 1,300 new power stations over the next 20 years, and to streamline the licensing of new nuclear plants to speed their development.

New electricity transmission lines will be build across the country, as well as more pipelines to carry oil and natural gas.

Tax breaks totalling $10bn for fuel-efficient cars and energy efficient homes are also planned, in what is being seen as a change in attitude towards conservation measures.

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US energy plan
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See also:

01 May 01 | Business
Is there a US energy crisis?
18 May 01 | Americas
Bush energy plan: Policy or payback?
17 May 01 | Americas
Energy tops Bush agenda
22 Apr 01 | Americas
EU presses on with Kyoto
30 Mar 01 | Americas
Kyoto: Why did the US pull out?
29 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
Anger at US climate retreat
26 Apr 01 | Americas
US debates nuclear expansion
15 May 01 | Americas
US attraction to nuclear power
09 May 01 | Americas
Clash over Arctic reserves
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