WASHINGTON, May 9, 2001 -- They haven't seen the plan yet, but a coalition of national environmental groups nevertheless gathered today to launch a pre-emptive strike against what little they do know about President Bush's approach to solving the nation's mounting energy problems.
"It's my fondest hope that they surprise us by going in a different direction than all the signals they've been sending in the last month," said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "But we are reading their lips and watching what they are doing with their feet and they are going in the wrong direction."
Members of the coalition believe Bush is taking advantage of the current crisis to launch a plan with too much emphasis on supply and fossil fuels and too little on conservation and the environment.
Phil Clapp of the National Environmental Trust accused the president of "a giant scare campaign aimed at the Congress to try to stampede legislators into inacting the anti-environment and anti-consumer agendas of the oil, gas and coal industries."
Cheney previewed the plan in a speech earlier this week by saying that it will be a "long-term comprehensive strategy" with a chief aim of increasing supply.
Administration officials have told ABC News the plan will encourage conservation and energy efficiency with tax incentives, but will shy away from pursuing rules and regulations that impose any limits on energy use.
Anna Aurilio, legislative director, U.S. PIRG said the plan will "not do anything to help consumers and will instead reward the companies that have caused our problems. In fact, what we say about the Bush energy plan is that it is dirty, dangerous and it doesn't deliver to consumers."