Speaking to a group of conservative state legislators Wednesday, President Bush called the $14.5 billion comprehensive energy bill passed by Congress last week “a good piece of legislation.”

Following years of work to negotiate a bipartisan bill, “I’m proud to sign it next week in New Mexico,” he told a meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Grapevine, TX. “I told the United States Congress this country needs to develop an energy strategy. We should have done that 10 years ago. We should have developed a strategy that would help us diversify away from foreign sources of oil.”

The sweeping bill, which is the first overhaul of the national energy policy in 13 years, “encourages domestic production,” promotes conservation and “recognizes over time we must diversify away from our dependence on hydrocarbons,” Bush said. “That’s why we’re now promoting nuclear energy. It makes sense for this county to use safe, clean nuclear power.”

The measure (HR 6) also “modernizes the electricity grid and gets rid of old laws that prevent utilities from being able to raise money efficiently in the capital market,” he said.

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