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Energy Plan Is Weak, Obama Says

The Illinois Democrat faults Bush for not making `a serious effort' to end reliance on oil.

April 04, 2006|John Chase | Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) delivered a blistering attack on President Bush's environmental policies Monday, saying that the president's recent plan to end the nation's reliance on oil was "not a serious effort" and that the world faces potential devastation if it doesn't address worsening climate changes.

Speaking in Chicago at an Associated Press luncheon, Obama said the U.S. must invest more in renewable fuels, encourage the coal industry to reduce carbon emissions and place more restrictions on oil imports.

Obama was initially hopeful when Bush declared during his State of the Union address that the U.S. must end its reliance on oil, the Illinois senator said, "but then I saw the plan."

"His funding for renewable fuels is at the same level it was the day he took office," Obama said. "This is not a serious effort. Saying that America is addicted to oil without following a real plan for energy independence is like admitting alcoholism and then skipping the 12-step program."

He said the Bush administration had practiced a "stubborn refusal" to admit a need for change.

Officials with the Republican National Committee said Obama's criticisms were misguided.

"Sen. Obama seems to be advocating a policy enacted by President Bush and is now using it to attack Republicans," said Ann Marie Hauser, a committee spokeswoman.

"Obama's stubborn refusal to acknowledge the facts about the energy bill the president signed into law is disturbing, in particular those that focus on energy-efficient vehicles, renewable energy sources and less reliance on foreign sources of fuel," Hauser said.

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