State of the Union Energy Proposal Draws Varying Reactions

President calls for 35 billion gallon increase in renewable fuel production by 2017 in his State of the Union address; groups like idea, but some have concerns about specifics.

Published on: Jan 24, 2007
The White House said in a release Tuesday that President Bush would call for a 20% reduction in U.S. gasoline consumption by 2017, and in his State of the Union address, he did just that.

Bush's proposal of cutting U.S. gasoline consumption drew standing ovations, including interrupting applause after the word "biodiesel" and again after "ethanol" in the following section of his speech:

"We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol - using everything from wood chips, to grasses, to agricultural wastes."

Although the applause was heavy during the speech, some groups were reserved in their responses afterwards.

In a news release, Jerome Ringo, president of Apollo Alliance, says: "He defined a bold goal, but needs to give us the tools to reach it."

"Based on the performance thus far in reaching the renewable fuels standard, his goal of increasing the standard is very realistic," says Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in the Wall Street Journal. "Tonight's goal is admirable, but only if it doesn't come at the expense of existing supportive policies for renewable fuels, such as the ethanol excise tax credit and import tariff."

Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., told CNN that the goals Bush outlined weren't sufficient. "Although during the last speech he claimed America is 'addicted to oil,' he still has no viable solution to the energy crisis or how he plans to obtain energy independence."