In other mining news, President Bush did not mince words about his energy plan during an address in the town of Belle, W.Va., yesterday: “We need to use coal. We got a lot of it,” he said. The president touted exploitation of domestic coal and other traditional energy resources as a way to avoid dependence on foreign oil and jumpstart a flagging economy. But that theory was skewered yesterday by likely 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry, a Senate Democrat from Massachusetts, who said that adopting Bush’s energy plan would leave the U.S. more dependent than ever on foreign oil in the future. Kerry’s alternate plan calls for increased fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles and tax incentives for renewable and alternative energy sources.

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