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America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Science and Technology > [A] Environmental Debate
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DaffyGrl
Earlier this month, the Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s financial future looked fairly uncertain.
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"President Bush's proposed budget will not have an impact this year," said Bob Noun, NREL's deputy associate director. "The current situation is we still have to lay off between 30 to 40 employees. But we are encouraged by the areas that were covered by the president."

The impact of Bush's proposed budget on the lab in the next year remains unclear. On Monday, the Department of Energy released a fiscal 2007 budget request seeking $162 million for NREL, $10 million lower than the lab's budget in fiscal 2006.  Rocky Mtn News

But, then, something odd happened. Bush announced that the country needs to find an alternative to conventional fuels and lessen its dependency on foreign oil mellow.gif , (not that this is exactly "news") and is traveling the country (at least the “red” parts) to stump for this epiphany, and, voila! miracles do happen. Those lost jobs were deemed a “mistake” and magically reappeared prior to Bush’s visit to NREL.
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Still, the NREL's budget dropped $22.5 million this year and was set to fall another $11 million next year. Two weeks ago, 32 people were laid off.

But Sunday, the Department of Energy announced those jobs were restored, effective immediately, by shifting unused funds from other accounts.  Denver Post

I believe most people can agree that the Bush administration hasn’t exactly had a record of being environmentally friendly.
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“To me, that means significantly increasing funding for NREL and DOE’s renewable programs. Despite what the president has announced today, NREL's funding is still down from last year. And under his proposal for FY07, funding for renewable energy programs will only increase by a paltry 0.2% over last year. That doesn’t say to me that the president is thinking boldly about a new energy future. Under his 2007 proposal, NREL may get more from the DOE budget, but the overall renewable energy and energy efficiency budget for 2007 will not change in any where near the numbers necessary to boldly put us on a path toward energy security.

“The president joked about his Texas roots as an oil man and I thought it was great for him to poke some fun at himself.  There’s an old Texas saying about ranchers who are ‘all hat and no cattle.’  The president came to Colorado today wearing a big hat for renewable energy, but the ‘dubbya’ brand is not on many head of renewable energy cattle.  Congressman Udall-CO

What is driving Bush’s newfound enthusiasm for alternative fuel sources?

Is this a genuine interest/effort, or something else?
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Amlord
What is driving Bush’s newfound enthusiasm for alternative fuel sources?

I heard on cable today (CNN or Fox, can't recall) that this is Bush's attempt at legacy building. He wants to be known as the energy President.

This seems credible. Perhaps he isn't satisfied with being the security president or the freeing Muslims from tyranny President. Who knows? Were I President, I wouldn't worry about legacy, I'd worry about good policy. Maybe that's what this is.

We have been stuck with the same technology for almost a century now (internal combustion engines). Progress has been stifled by automobile and petroleum companies to a certain degree. Technology improvement is a good thing--it creates jobs and leisure time and is more efficient.

Is this a genuine interest/effort, or something else?

Why wouldn't it be genuine? Do you have any other examples of Bush doing something he doesn't believe in?

If we assume it is genuine, we can also admit that this is a change from previous energy policy. We can say that Bush has changed course on energy. Is this because he no longer needs donations from Big Oil? Does it mean he admits his previous policy (which was really pro-domestic exploration and not pro-import) was the wrong one? I don't think we can say that.

What this is is a different emphasis on energy policy. Bush seems to want to kickstart an energy revolution--maybe it will even happen.
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