The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 31, 2008

Bush embraces coal

President says energy plan must include all sources

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — President Bush made a stop Thursday at The Greenbrier, where he spoke before the West Virginia Coal Association regarding energy plans, one of which involves the use of coal.

Bush emphasized the importance of clean coal research, telling the audience coal is an important tool in efforts to ensure the country has a reliable supply of electricity.

“There’s no more reliable source of electricity than coal,” Bush said to applause, adding the country has an approximately 250-year supply of coal remaining.

Nuclear power, wind turbines and solar energy are also means by which Bush said electricity can be produced.

Nuclear Power 2010, designed to encourage the construction of new nuclear power plants in the United States, was launched in 2002, and Bush said 18 applications to build new reactors have been received and another seven are expected this year.

Also, Bush said, in 2007, more than 30 percent of the new electrical generating capacity in the country came from wind.

All of these tools, he said, are important in ensuring a reliable electricity source for years to come.

“We need a variety of sources of power in order to deal with the problems today,” he said, “and as importantly send the signal that the future is going to be viable for people, that there’s going to be plenty of electricity.”

The president also spoke of rising gasoline prices, a cause of increasing concern across the country.

Aside from conservation, which would lower the demand for oil, thus lowering the prices, Bush stressed the importance of increasing domestic production of oil.

“If you want to take the pressure off price,” he said, “we ought to be sending a signal that the United States is going to find oil right here in our own hemisphere.”

Bush suggested offshore drilling and tapping into oil shale, specifically in the Rocky Mountain region, as two methods with “huge potential” for the United States to secure its own oil.

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