Bush Says He Won't

Use Petroleum Reserve

President Bush yesterday rejected Democrats' calls to ease high gasoline prices by tapping the nation's petroleum reserve, saying such action would leave America vulnerable to terrorism in a time of war. He also chastised Congress anew for failing to pass his energy proposal.

"I anticipated this three years ago," Bush told reporters after a meeting with his Cabinet. "I asked my team to put together a strategy to make us less dependent upon foreign sources of energy. I submitted that plan to the United States Congress."

Of his critics, Bush said: "On the one hand they decry the price at the pump, and on the other hand they won't do anything about it. They won't take action. Congress needs to pass the energy plan."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and others favor pressuring the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which cut production in March and April, to boost its output to meet demand. Others want to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an idea Kerry has not endorsed.

Restricted Dealings With

Terrorist States Rejected

The Senate narrowly rejected a proposal to tighten rules preventing investments in countries linked to terrorism.

The proposal would have barred any foreign subsidiaries that are controlled more than 50 percent by a U.S. company from doing business in countries on the State Department's list of terrorism-sponsoring nations.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg's proposal was included as an amendment to a bill authorizing $422.2 billion in defense programs for next year. The New Jersey Democrat's amendment was defeated in a 50 to 49 vote mostly along party lines.

U.S. law restricts American companies from doing businesses with countries on the list: Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Iraq officially remains on the list, but the sanctions have been waived.

Religious Leaders Seek

Carbon Dioxide Monitors

A group of religious leaders and scientists issued a plea to the Senate asking lawmakers to pass legislation to regulate carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global climate change.

The letters, hand-delivered to senators, were signed by leaders from a broad range of faiths, including Judaism, Catholicism and evangelical Christianity.

"We are people of religious life and people of science who travel diverse, individual paths in our search for truth," they wrote. "At this critical moment in history, however, many of us share a deep conviction that global climate change presents an unprecedented threat to the integrity of life on Earth and a challenge to universal values that bind us as human beings."

The religious leaders and scientists threw their weight behind a bill to create a nationwide carbon dioxide regulatory system, sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.). That bill failed 55 to 43 last year.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports