WASHINGTON -- As members of Congress began poring over President Bush's long-awaited energy plan Thursday, one thing became clear: Some of the elements most dear to the White House face the longest odds on Capitol Hill.
Opening the Alaskan wilderness to new oil exploration and giving the federal government authority to string power lines through private property are central elements of the White House plan. But those and other provisions met immediate opposition from several lawmakers in both parties.
By contrast, members voiced some of their most enthusiastic support for components of the plan that focus on conservation -- an approach that, until recently, the plan's principal author, Vice President Dick Cheney, was discounting.
The Hill reaction was largely a reflection of the political realities of the energy debate. Conservation measures are easier to embrace because they are less controversial. And starting out the energy debate by stressing curbs in consumption helps Republicans guard against criticism that the Bush plan is tilted toward industry.
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