Bush Plans New Energy Proposals

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 27, 2005

President Bush will announce five new but modest proposals today to encourage the production and use of domestic energy sources, including nuclear power and cleaner-burning coal and diesel, the White House said last night.

With gas prices hitting all-time highs and the public expressing dismay over the rising cost of driving, Bush plans to renew his push for a broad energy proposal in a speech today and present the new measures in an effort to ease concerns about the supply and cost of energy. White House officials released the details to reporters under the condition that their names not be used.

The new measures, which the officials said would not immediately bring down gasoline prices, include a mix of incentives and regulatory changes mainly to encourage the construction of new production facilities. The White House plans to lobby lawmakers to weave these proposals into the energy bill now making its way through Congress.

Bush will call for federal risk insurance to "reduce the uncertainty" for companies wishing to build nuclear plants, a White House official said, declining to detail the cost associated with the plan.

The president plans to prod federal agencies to work with communities to encourage the construction of new refineries at closed military bases. Because of the cost associated with building new refineries, most companies have chosen to expand production at current sites instead of building new ones. The White House officials said there is concern that refineries are approaching maximum capacity at current sites.

The president plans to request clear federal authority over the siting of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, as way to speed the completion of 32 new terminals. There are four in the United States, and the White House official said confusion over federal authority in the process is slowing expansion.

Finally, Bush plans to ask Congress to expand the tax credit that applies to hybrid and fuel-cell-powered vehicles to also cover clean diesel and encourage other countries to help promote clean coal and nuclear power.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company