Bush urges Congress to back energy initiatives
WASHINGTON - President Bush asked Congress to help solve "one of the great challenges facing our generation" by approving proposals that he says will cut U.S. gasoline consumption by up to 20 percent over 10 years.
"Every member of Congress who cares about strengthening our economy, protecting our national security and confronting climate change should support the energy initiatives I have set out," the president said Saturday in his weekly radio address. "We can leave behind a cleaner and better world for our children and grandchildren."
Bush's energy proposals, outlined in his State of the Union address last month, include ramping up the production of alternative fuels such as ethanol made from new, noncorn feedstocks.
The president wants to require the use of 35 billion gallons a year of ethanol and other alternative fuels, such as soybean-based biodiesel, by 2017, a fivefold increase over current requirements. The ethanol would be in gasoline blends of 10 percent to 85 percent.
The call for sharp increases in ethanol use will get bipartisan support in Congress.
But production of ethanol from corn is expected to fall far short of the target. So Bush envisions a major speedup of research into production of "cellulosic" ethanol made from wood chips, switchgrass and other feedstocks.