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Bush Assesses Energy Crunch, Plan to be Revealed

Aired May 17, 2001 - 05:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JASON CARROLL, CNN ANCHOR: The Bush administration says the nation is facing its worst energy crisis since the 1970s. Today, the White House reveals what it plans to do about it.

LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. The president will unveil his energy action plan. It includes recommendations for fixing the nation's energy problems over the long term. But if you're looking for help right now, well, look somewhere else.

CNN senior White House correspondent John King has a preview for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The biggest controversy in the president's plan is on the supply side. Mr. Bush calls for at least 1,300 new power plants over the next 20 years, including a look at whether the United States should lift a ban on nuclear plants using reprocessed fuel. A review of environmental rules the coal industry says are unfair. A streamlining of regulations the industry says discourage new power plants and refineries. Opening parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other federal lands now off limits to oil and gas exploration.

Thirty-eight thousand miles of new natural gas pipelines and new powers for the government to seize land for new electricity transmission lines.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is an action plan because this is an action administration.

KING: The 163-page report says urgent action is needed because, over the next 20 years U.S. oil consumption will increase by 33 percent, natural gas consumption by well over 50 percent and demand for electricity will rise by 45 percent.

BUSH: This is a very optimistic look at America. It's tough in that it lays out the problems. It's a direct assessment of neglect.

KING: Critics call it a boom to the president's friends in the energy industry.

DANIEL BECKER, SIERRA CLUB: What the administration is trying to do is create a crisis mentality so people don't think carefully. If you don't think carefully, you won't act carefully.

KING: But the administration says it promotes conservation, too. The report proposes $4 billion in tax credits for purchasing fuel efficient vehicles, $1 billion in incentives to develop methane gas from landfills and additional tax credits for biomass and other alternative fuels.

BUSH: It provides over a hundred proposals to diversify and increase the supply of energy - innovative proposals to encourage conservation and ways to make sure that we get energy from producer to consumer.

KING: The report leans in favor of forcing the auto industry to increase fuel efficiency standards but delays a final decision pending a new scientific review due in July.

Nothing in the plan would directly impact prices at the pump in the short term.

(on camera): That has many Republicans nervous because of rising consumer anger. And so the White House is adding a new twist to its sales pitch: suggesting the president's call for a new long-term strategy will have a psychological impact on energy markets and energy prices in the short term.

John King, CNN, The White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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