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U.S. budget boosts coal and nuclear power

Bush's budget request Monday cut funding for renewable energy, but increased spending for science.

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A president's priorities become clearer at budget time, even if Congress eventually rearranges things entirely. And that's true about the place of energy and climate change in President Bush's spending plan for next year.

Coal and nuclear power see big boosts in the 2009 Energy Department budget request sent to Congress Monday, and Mr. Bush is again calling for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The budget favors nuclear and "clean coal" options over renewable power sources, McClatchy Newspapers noted.

"President Bush proposed large increases for nuclear energy and for capturing and storing carbon from coal-burning power plants in his 2009 budget requests for funding to combat climate change. At the same time, though, his budget would cut money for solar energy research and would provide only a small increase for other renewable-energy programs."

Clean-energy advocates might wince at the emphasis on coal, oil, and nuclear power. But a big chunk of the energy budget proposal is for finding ways to reduce coal's greenhouse-gas emissions. Reuters reports:

"Capturing carbon emissions from coal plants and socking them away in underground reservoirs was at the top of the [Energy] department's 2009 priority list. Carbon sequestration research received $400 million in funds, along with $241 million for demonstration projects."
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