Bush hits the road to tout alternative energy technologies

With the American people restless over high home-heating and gasoline prices, President Bush has embarked on a PR tour of electorally important states to promote alternative energy technologies. Yesterday, he touted his plan to increase funding for energy research during visits to solar-panel manufacturer United Solar Ovonic and Johnson Controls, which is researching advanced lithium ion batteries for hybrid cars. (Critics point out that Bush’s proposed funding is less than half of what was promised in last year’s energy bill.) He reiterated that America is addicted to oil and said, “we’ve got to do something about it now.” (Critics point out that measures that might have more immediate impact — like a gas tax, or increased CAFE standards — are not under discussion.) Today, Bush praised workers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., where about three dozen researchers were hastily rehired over the weekend in time for Bush’s visit, after having been laid off recently because of budget cuts. (Critics point out that NREL still has a $23 million budget shortfall. Damn critics.)