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Bush Proposes Oil Refineries on Closed Military Bases

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2005 – President Bush unveiled a plan today to encourage building oil refineries on military sites that have closed.

Speaking at a Small Business Administration conference here, the president recommended this and other initiatives to address the country's energy needs and reduce dependence on foreign energy sources.

Bush said expanding refinery capacity will help address the shortage that's partly blamed for skyrocketing gasoline prices. The last oil refinery built in the United States was completed in 1976, he said.

During a White House press briefing today, spokesman Scott McClellan said the federal agencies would work with states and local communities to transfer closed military sites and make them available to refiners.

McClellan said many closed military bases are already being redeveloped or used for new purposes to help create jobs. Building oil refineries on some of them will "address a pressing problem that we face, and it will also address an economic need in these communities," he said.

"So we want to work closely with those communities and we think that by doing so, we will help encourage people to look at the long-term benefit in investing in these sites and building refineries," McClellan said.

Bush's announcement today came about two weeks before Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld submits a list of installations recommended for closure or realignment to Congress and the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

By Sept. 8, the commission must send its recommended BRAC list to the president, who has until Sept. 23 to approve or disapprove the findings.

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