Gov. Bush offers broad energy policy

Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the Republican candidate for the US presidency, Friday proposed more than 20 energy policy initiatives that he said would decrease US dependence on foreign oil imports. Several of the measures were keyed to a proposal to allow exploration on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge east of Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska.

Sep 29th, 2000


Speaking in Saginaw, Mich., on Friday, Texas Gov. George W. Bush proposed more than 20 energy policy initiatives that he said would decrease US dependence on foreign oil imports.

Several of the initiatives put forward by the Republican candidate for the US presidency would be funded by his proposal to allow exploration on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge east of Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska.

Bush said the policy would help low-income households pay their energy bills, improve air quality, and encourage the development of renewable and alternative fuels.

But Bush said since alternative sources supply less than 4% of US energy needs, he would promote access to foreign oil and the development of US oil, coal, and natural gas resources.

Bush said, "America must have an energy policy that plans for the future, but meets the needs of today. I believe that we can develop our natural resources and protect our environment. We are paying a steep price for 7.5 years without an energy policy," said Governor Bush.

The program
Bush would expand the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by seeking releasing $155 million from the fund. He would funnel some federal oil and gas royalty income to LIHEAP´┐Ż$1 billion over 10 years. He would reform and increase funding for the federal weatherization program and state energy programs, costing $1.4 billion over 10 years.

The plan would establish a privately-managed Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve costing $100 million over 10 years.

His administration would use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve only in times of war or major disruption in supply. And he would ask Congress to pass "wake up" legislation requiring the US Department of Energy to notify it when oil stocks are low.

Bush proposed developing a "North American Energy Policy" with Canada and Mexico and improving US influence and credibility with oil-producing nations in the Persian Gulf.

His administration would promote development of energy resources in areas outside of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, such as the Caspian Sea Basin and Western and Southern Africa.

And it would hold an annual meeting of G-8 Energy Ministers, or their equivalents, to encourage international energy cooperation.

Production response
Bush said he would open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration, "which could replace the oil that the US now imports from Iraq." The area to be leased was described as only 8% of the entire refuge.

His administration would examine whether certain promising natural gas reserves on federal lands should be opened for exploration.

The plan advocated "improving the regulatory process to encourage more refining capacity." It would also require federal agencies to develop a comprehensive policy for approving pipelines.

Over 10 years, it would invest $2 billion to fund research in "clean coal" technologies and $1 billion to establish clear rules to help efficient utilities purchase nuclear plants.

His policy would expedite the relicensing process for hydroelectric projects and would oppose the breaching of dams. The policy would also support federal legislation restructuring the electric utility industry.

Environmental measures
Bush would propose legislation to require electric utilities to reduce harmful emissions.

The proposed policy would establish a "Royalties Conservation Fund," earmarking "potentially billions in royalties from new oil and gas exploration in ANWR to fund conservation efforts." It would designate an estimated $1.2 billion of bid bonuses from an ANWR lease sale for funding research into alternative energy resources.

And it would support tax credits for electricity produced from renewable and alternative fuels at a cost of $1.4 billion over 10 years.

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