Bush: More US E&P vital in alternative fuel transition

Oct. 23, 2006
Falling gasoline prices must not dissuade Americans from developing alternative fuels or finding more domestic oil and gas, US President George W. Bush said on Oct. 12.

Falling gasoline prices must not dissuade Americans from developing alternative fuels or finding more domestic oil and gas, US President George W. Bush said on Oct. 12.

Addressing a renewable energy conference cosponsored by the US Departments of Agriculture and Energy in St. Louis, Bush reiterated earlier statements that the US should move away from petroleum for its motor fuels to protect its economy, national security, and environment.

“As you can tell, I’m excited about new technologies. But I think we’ve got to be realistic about the timing. And in order to become less dependent on foreign sources of oil, we’ve got to explore for oil and gas in our own hemisphere in environmentally friendly ways. And one of the interesting technological developments is the capacity to find oil in unique places,” he said.

Referring to the recent Jack 2 discovery made by Chevron Corp. and its partners in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Bush said it was accomplished with new technologies, “which enable us to go to new places, and they enable us to be wise stewards of the environment.”

Bush said, “I understand there’s a big debate about whether or not you can explore for oil and gas and protect the environment. I believe you can. And I understand that as we transition to the ethanol era...or the hydrogen area, we must also find oil and gas in our own hemisphere if the objective is to become less dependent on foreign oil.”

Bush said the 2005 Energy Policy Act was a good beginning but added that the House and Senate now need to resolve differences in their competing federal offshore leasing bills.

States should share

Bush said the House and Senate need to come together between their respective leasing bills to encourage exploration in new areas of the gulf. “And I believe that states ought to share in the royalties because I know, in the state of Louisiana, for example, they have committed their share of new royalties in this new exploration to help protect their coastline,” he said.

“And I believe Congress needs to get the bill to my desk as quick as possible. So when you finish the elections, get back and let me sign this bill so the American people know that we’re serious about getting off foreign oil,” Bush continued.

He said expanding domestic offshore exploration and production is vital because of growing US natural gas demand, not only for home heating and industrial fuels but also to generate electricity. He also said more LNG terminals need to be developed and approved so the US can begin to use gas from overseas.

“An increased supply of natural gas...makes it more likely that you’re going to have rational bills, more likely the economy will continue to grow. And natural gas protects the environment,” Bush said.

Developing new coal and nuclear technologies alongside hydrogen and ethanol alternatives are part of “a comprehensive approach to solving a national issue, which is dependence on oil, and how best to protect this environment,” Bush said. “It’s time to get rid of the old, stale debates on the environment and recognize new technologies are going to enable us to achieve a lot of objectives at the same time.”

At the conference, Sec. of Agriculture Mike Johanns and Sec. of Energy Samuel W. Bodman jointly announced $17.5 million in federal grants for 17 biomass research, development, and demonstration projects. “This funding will spur new scientific innovation that will help us kick our overreliance on oil,” Bodman said.