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Bush hopes to slay energy 'vampires' with executive order

Abraham, Bush, Lindsey
President Bush, pictured with Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, left, and economic adviser Larry Lindsey, prepares to sign an executive order for energy conservation  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Saying that "federal agencies must lead the way for energy conservation," President Bush signed an executive order Tuesday that he hopes will slay energy "vampires" and lead to better energy conservation.

"One of the ways that our nation wastes energy is through what they call 'vampire devices,'" he said before he signed the order in an Oval Office ceremony. "These will be battery chargers, cell phone chargers, computer systems that we really think are not using energy when (they're) plugged in, but in fact are."

The executive order requires federal agencies to purchase energy efficient appliances, as long as the purchase is cost-effective. The new devices will use either one watt or the lowest wattage available in their standby mode.

"We've set what we call a one-watt standard throughout the federal government, that we expect our agencies to be ridding themselves of the vampires and using energy conservation devices," Bush said.

Message Board: Energy policy  

Bush signed the order one day before the Republican-led House is expected to start floor debate on an energy bill that closely follows a White House task force's recommendations released in May.

The 163-page administration energy report suggests the country faces its worst energy crisis since the 1970s. In addition to an array of incentives for the energy producing industry, it includes a package of tax breaks and other incentives designed to promote conservation, energy efficiency, and wider development and use of alternative and renewable fuels.

The report contains 105 recommendations, including 42 that deal with conservation and alternative fuels. Those recommendations include tax credits for buying energy-efficient vehicles, more research money for biofuels made from animal and farm waste, and new incentives to encourage wind and solar power.

Thirty-five recommendations deal with supply: 1,300 new power plants over the next 20 years; new pipelines and electricity transmission lines; new refineries for gas and heating oil; and new domestic exploration for oil and natural gas, including sites in Alaska and the Rocky Mountain West.

"It is very important for Congress to pass a balanced energy plan, one that includes the capacity to drill for, explore for and find natural gas throughout our entire country, including Alaska. And I'm confident we can do so in an environmentally friendly way," Bush said.

Democrats and environmental groups have blasted the plan, saying it is too focused on increasing energy supplies instead of conservation.

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