President Bush headed over to Maryland to speak to the Seafarers Union yesterday. He had a few things to say about energy, but nothing groundbreaking. You can read the part of his speech where he addresses energy independence after the jump, but I wanted to point out an interesting shift in the rhetoric away from hydrogen or ethanol to battery-powered vehicles. The President did say we need to "be aggressive in promoting new technologies, particularly on the energy front" but the only automotive technology singled out was battery-powered vehicles. Interesting, no?


[Source: White House]


President Bush's Labor Day comments on energy:

"A couple of other things we need to do, as well. We got to do something about energy, in order to make sure that we're competitive, that this economy will remain strong, that people are able to find work. By the way, the unemployment rate is 4.7 percent. That's a good sign for somebody looking for a job. It means people are working here in the United States. (Applause.)

But one thing is clear, is that dependence on foreign oil jeopardizes our capacity to grow. I mean, the problem is we get oil from some parts of the world and they simply don't like us. And so the more dependent we are on that type of energy, the less likely it will be that we are able to compete, and so people have good, high-paying jobs.

And so I've got a plan to work with -- to spend money on technologies. See, the technological development here at this school has been dramatic. Well, we can achieve the same technological breakthroughs when it comes to energy. And that starts with how we drive our automobiles. You know, one of these days, you're going to have a -- batteries in your automobile that will enable you to drive the first 40 miles without gasoline, and your car doesn't have to look like a golf cart. (Laughter.) I mean, I bet the people down in this part of the world like to drive pickups, Mike. (Laughter.) But we're going to have a battery that makes those pickups go.

And the reason why is, is that we're spending money to develop new technologies to enable us to become less dependent on oil. And that makes sense. And so, in order to think about how we remain competitive as a nation, we've got to be aggressive in promoting new technologies, particularly on the energy front.

You know, in the Midwest, a lot of people are beginning to fuel their cars with more and more ethanol. Ethanol is derived from corn, so you've got to get out there growing corn; the corn goes into an ethanol plant and out comes fuel to drive the car. That seems to make a lot of sense to me to say, in order to become less dependent on foreign oil why don't we become more reliant upon America's farmers to produce energy for our automobiles? And that's the kind of things we're doing. (Applause.)

You know, we flew over -- coming here, we flew over a nuclear power plant, and it's a modern, safe plant. In my judgment, this country ought to continue to expand nuclear power if we want to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy. Nuclear power is safe; nuclear power is clean; and nuclear power is renewable. And so, what I'm telling you is, and what I want the country to understand is, is that technologies -- technologies has enabled this work force -- this union to have a more productive work force -- technology is going to enable us to become less dependent on oil. And we've got to continue to pursue technologies."

(Read the entire speech here)

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