Clinton creates interagency council to promote new energy technologies

Aug 12, 1999 02:00 AM

Aiming to reduce U.S. oil demand and protect the environment, President Clinton created an interagency council to promote technologies that turn trees, plants and even animal waste into energy. Clinton cast the initiative as both a security issue and a crucial stroke against global warming.
"If we can make the raw material of tomorrow's economy living, renewable resources instead of fossil fuels, which pollute the atmosphere and warm the planet, the future of our children and our grandchildren, the likelihood that there will be more prosperity and peace - all that will be far greater," he said.
Supporting the initiative were two key farm-state senators who have legislation of their own promoting "biomass" development. "We must press forward with creative, high-tech solutions to counter the world's finite supply of traditional energy sources," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
GOP Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, added: "We are only at the beginning of a revolution in biotechnology that will lead to more efficient use of the world's resources, enabling ecologically sustainable growth." House Republicans have been slow to embrace the issue.

The "biomass" industry is dedicated to finding more efficient ways of using trees, plants and other renewable sources - chicken droppings, for example - to fuel cars, light homes, and propel planes.
Advances in this area could reduce emissions that are hazardous to the environment and also provide a multibillion dollar industry for loggers, chemical companies and the nation's farmers. Vice President Al Gore unveiled the plan in Iowa, where he has been campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.
"The potential economic benefits are staggering," Clinton said. Reducing the nation's dependence on volatile foreign markets was an added plus. Clinton said that increasing global economic activity and competition for oil could soon begin to drive oil prices up. "It's important for our economy, for our security, for our environment," Clinton said.

Source: AP
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