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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: January 29, 2002
CONTACT:Craig Cheslog (510-444-3041)

REDEFINING PROGRESS URGES PRESIDENT BUSH TO OUTLINE A STRATEGY TO REDUCE THE NATION'S FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE DURING HIS STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE

OAKLAND, Calif.—Redefining Progress urges President George W. Bush to outline a new national energy security strategy during his State of the Union address tonight.

"The United States should take steps to reduce, and eventually eliminate, our dependence on fossil fuel energy sources," said Redefining Progress Executive Director Michel Gelobter. "Ending this destructive fossil fuel addiction will improve our national security, economy, and environment."

The United States directly and indirectly spends billions each year to subsidize fossil fuel use. This financial support extends from tax subsidies to military protection of shipping lanes in unstable oil-rich areas.

"The prices we pay are just plain wrong. We have been selling fossil fuels in this country for over 100 years. This is not a start-up industry requiring government help," said Gelobter. "Bad prices cause the wrong kinds of consumption and grow our ecological footprint beyond the planet's capacity."

Any credible long-term energy plan must reorient the economy by reducing dramatically its reliance on oil, coal, and natural gas. Such plans will:

  1. Steadily reduce the nation's reliance on fossil fuels. Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will shrink greenhouse emissions, improve air quality, and increase the nation's energy security.
  2. Nurture a diversity of energy resources. Funds should be allocated for additional research and to stimulate emerging markets for alternative energy sources and technologies.
  3. Promote energy efficiency and conservation. Increasing the supply of energy alone is not a long-term solution. Energy demand must be reduced through conservation and improved energy efficiency.
  4. Price energy accurately. The full social and environmental costs of various forms of energy should be calculated and included in their prices so consumers can make informed energy choices. Removing fossil fuel subsidies will make renewable energy sources price competitive.
  5. Employ mechanisms that assist households most vulnerable to energy price increases. Pricing structures should ensure a basic floor of inexpensive energy for everyone while providing price incentives for heavy users to reduce their consumption.
  6. Ensure that environmental impacts of energy generation are borne fairly by all socioeconomic groups. The pattern of locating polluting plants in low-income neighborhoods, communities of color, and tribal lands results in disproportionate health and ecological impacts, and must cease.

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