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Bush Tapped Solar Energy Funds to Print Energy Plan

Bush Energy Plan
March 29, 2002

Bush Tapped Solar Energy Funds to Print Energy Plan

Filed at 9:30 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - While environmentalists have slammed the White House national energy plan for not doing enough to promote renewable energy, the Bush administration found those government research programs useful in paying the bill for printing copies of the 170-page plan.

The administration took money from the Energy Department's solar and renewable energy and energy conservation budgets to pay for the cost of printing its national energy plan.

Documents released under court order by the Energy Department this week revealed that $135,615 was spent from the DOE's solar, renewables and energy conservation budget to produce 10,000 copies of the White House energy plan released last May.

Another $1,317.39 was spent for producing 16 ``briefing boards'' used by administration officials to illustrate and explain the White House energy plan.

The newly released documents also show that $176.40 was taken from the energy conservation program to pay for an Alaska trip by Andrew Lundquist, the White House energy task force's staff director, to promote the energy plan.

The administration's energy policy called for drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a proposal strongly opposed by environmentalists.

At the same time the White House tapped the renewable budget for funds to print the energy plan, administration was urging Congress to cut the renewable and energy efficiency research budgets by more than 50 percent.

Vice President Dick Cheney, who headed the White House energy task force, criticized environmentalists for relying too much on renewables and conservation to solve the nation's energy problems. ``Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy,'' Cheney said two weeks before the energy plan was released last May.

The administration did try to spread around the cost of producing the energy plan.

It dipped into the DOE's fossil energy program, which covers primarily oil research, to pay $100.92 for a hotel room near the Government Printing Office where the policy publication was being produced.

The documents did not name the official or if the hotel offered a government rate.



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