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Bush Talks Ethanol, NRDC Wants Action

President Bush plugs government support for ethanol, while environmental group wants more action from Washington.

President Bush toured a Hoover, Alabama alternative fueling station Thursday, speaking on the benefits of ethanol-based fuels.

"One of the important policies of government ought to be to encourage the production and use of ethanol," he says. "And there's a federal role for that."

Bush has repeatedly said that America is addicted to oil, and he considers ethanol part of the solution. "One way to become less dependent on foreign oil is for us to develop new ways to power our automobiles right here in America," he says.

The city of Hoover's police force uses around 20,000 gallons of E85 - an ethanol and gas blend - per month. Bush says the blend "works just fine because it helps keep our air clean. It works just fine because it helps address the national security issue."

The Bush administration has taken steps to promote energy diversity, including tax credits for ethanol blends and small ethanol producers and a Renewable Fuels Standard to boost the amount of homegrown fuel.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental action group claiming around 1.2 million members, agrees with the President's endorsement of ethanol but wants the White House and Congress to enact policies that will bring the fuel to consumers more quickly.

"The president is on a forward-looking road by supporting these advanced fuels, but he's keeping his foot off the gas pedal when American farmers and families want to go full speed ahead," says Nathanael Greene, an NRDC senior policy analyst. "His administration and Congress need to enact policies that will advance these fuels quickly and affordably to move America beyond oil and cut global warming pollution."

NRDC analysts have outlined actions they believe Washington should take to ensure a safe and affordable flow of ethanol, including: invest significantly in ethanol research, development; offer incentives for production facilities to jumpstart cellulosic biofuels; give consumers more choice by pushing for biofuels at gas stations and more flex-fuel engines; and raise fuel performance standards

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