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Bush's Energy Plan

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Supply, supply, supply. The White House's top priority is raising supply--especially fossil fuels--to match demand. The goal: 1,300 new power plants by 2020

COAL
Ease environmental rules on coal-burning power plants while spending $2 billion to research cleaner ways to burn it

PRO: Plentiful, cheap coal provides more than half of U.S. electricity

CON: Worst of fossil fuels for CO2 emissions. Price has been declining for so long that some mines cannot find workers

OIL/GAS
Use tax incentives to encourage new drilling, including on federal lands

PRO: Reduces dependence on foreign oil. Natural gas is cleanest fossil fuel

CON: Bush faces a fight in Congress to open ANWR. One spill in Alaska could forever tar the Administration

TRANSMISSION
An outmoded national power grid has created huge bottlenecks. Bush would construct more gas pipelines and expand the use of eminent domain, so land could be bought and used for new lines

PRO: States could trade power quickly

CON: Bush's Western supporters are not big on government land grabs

POWER PLANTS/REFINERIES
Bush will streamline the regulatory process for building plants and refineries. He has even courted labor unions with the promise of the construction projects

PRO: Blackouts? What blackouts?

CON: Can deregulated utilities really afford to build more plants?

CONSERVATION
With environmentalists attacking his plan, Bush is playing up its greener parts--tax credits for hybrid electric/gas cars and research into alternative fuels

PRO: Something is better than nothing

CON: His budget cuts federal research dollars, leaving the work to the private sector

NUCLEAR
The country has not built a new plant in almost 30 years. Bush would make it easier, and he would fund research on nuclear-waste storage

PRO: Emits no greenhouse gases; newer technologies have made modern plants much safer

CON: The stigma--who wants a new Three Mile Island in his suburb?

...and an alternative Dick Cheney calls conservation a personal virtue. But advocates say new technology has made it a viable alternative to simply drilling for more oil and gas. Some options:

HOME APPLIANCES
Advances in efficiency for refrigerators, clothes washers and other appliances can cut consumption. When Bush toned down Clinton's rules for air conditioners, which had some industry support, he created a need for 37 new power plants

PRO: The technology is already here

CON: More regulations are not a Republican fav

AT HOME
Bush will not encourage us to change our lifestyles, but some utilities are. One Washington utility gives out coupons for more efficient light bulbs. A Los Angeles utility offers customers $10,000 to switch their homes to solar energy

PRO: Conservation starts at home. It's painless

CON: Utilities won't pay if supply increases

SET AN EXAMPLE
America's largest energy consumer, the Federal Government, could cut power use 20% just by using common conservation techniques. By investing in new technologies like hybrid cars, it will convince companies there's a profit to be made in conservation

PRO: Bush's ranch and Cheney's house use geothermal energy. Why not their offices?

CON: Hybrids not ready for FBI high-speed chases

NATURAL GAS
The cleanest fossil fuel, natural gas, has risen in use dramatically in the past decade. If Bush reversed himself and imposed limits on CO2 emissions, gas would be even more attractive to utilities that will need to comply

PRO: Cleaner than coal and oil

CON: Price spikes have stung consumers in the past few years. Would still mean more drilling

RENEWABLE FUELS
Solar, wind and geothermal energy are growing. Some states have set renewable portfolio standards, which force utilities to get some of their power from these eco-friendly sources. A national standard could make them profitable

PRO: More power, cleanly

CON: Bush spent a good part of his campaign mocking Al Gore's kooky solar-energy ideas

FUEL EFFICIENCY
With Ford and GM arguing over who is greener, it may be time to raise fuel-efficiency rules. Closing the light-truck loophole that holds SUVs to a lower standard could save almost a billion barrels of oil a year

PRO: Less pollution and fewer fill-ups at the pump

CON: People like having the biggest car on the block