From American Progress:
Kicking off a week-long public relations effort to tout his energy plan, President Bush visited energy technology companies in Wisconsin and Michigan where he learned about battery-powered cars and solar panels. Today Bush will visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado. During the State of the Union, Bush proclaimed that America is addicted to oil, but his policies in the last 5 years have only fed that addiction. Bush's budgets don't put enough money behind his rhetoric -- the lab he is visiting today had "laid off 32 people, including eight researchers, this month because of a $28-million shortfall in this year's budget."
The President will have to answer many questions to show that he is serious about kicking our habit.
President Bush cut the budget and staff of the energy lab he will visit today. Shortly after Bush made energy a cornerstone of his State of the Union address, 32 members of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory were dismissed from their jobs due to a $28 billion budget cut. According to the Energy Department, NREL is the premier laboratory for renewable energy research and development and is a leading laboratory for energy efficiency R&D. In a move to avoid "political embarrassment for the president" those jobs were apparently restored. Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) said that Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman assured him that all the job cuts were being restored immediately.
The President should put his money where his mouth is on fuel efficiency. A week after his State of the Union address, Bush presented his 2007 budget that included substantial cuts for research in many areas, including improving the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks. Bush's budget "funds less than half of what the recent energy bill promised for renewable energy and energy efficiency -- the two most readily available opportunities to break our addiction to oil," according to Jeremy Symons, a former government staffer on Cheney's energy task force. The administration's fuel economy standards are too weak, and the 2007 budget doesn't address America's over-reliance on fuel. (For a progressive vision to kicking our addiction to oil, see
American Progress' plan, Resources for Global Growth.)
Bush's commitment to truly reducing America's oil addiction is weak. In the State of the Union speech, Bush called for efforts to "replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025," a call that he did not repeat yesterday. That pledge is not very impressive it amounts to reducing oil consumption by just 8.25 percent over 19 years. And the administration has even been backing away from that. We shouldn't expect a real commitment to reducing our dependence on oil from this president he is still beholden to energy executives and given a chance in 2005 to address oil consumption in the energy bill, the administration "rejected a Senate provision that required reduction of oil consumption by one million barrels per day by 2015."
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