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GOP Spotlights Security, Energy Independence

September 6, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 36

At their national convention beginning Aug. 30 in New York City, the Republican Party approved a policy platform with science-related planks that are heavy on national security, including the need for energy independence.

The platform salutes President George W. Bush's efforts to thwart terrorism and halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction. It also supports his call for a national intelligence director and a national counterterrorism center, both components of intelligence reform.

On the home front, the platform endorses the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to set minimum safety requirements at chemical plants and to enforce compliance when voluntary measures fail. And it hails further efforts to defend against bioterrorism.

New technologies to make energy generation and use more efficient, and oil and gas exploration more friendly to the environment, are urged. Regarding exploration, the platform encourages energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and natural gas production in new areas of Alaska and the Rocky Mountains.

The platform also urges research and development to support a hydrogen economy that would place the U.S. on the leading edge of energy technology. To aid energy as well as nanotechnology research, the platform suggests making permanent the R&D tax credit.

Additionally, the platform recommends extending the production tax credit for wind and biomass energy, expanding the use of ethanol and biodiesel fuels, and building new nuclear power plants to cut dependence on foreign energy and address global climate change.

The Republicans would tackle the challenge of climate change through market measures and new technologies to improve energy efficiency. They are strongly opposed to the mandatory carbon emissions controls found in the Kyoto protocol.

And finally, in the area of federally funded biomedical research, the platform encourages a stronger emphasis on adult and cord blood stem cell research and strongly opposes lifting limits on embryonic stem cell research.



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