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McCain talks up oil drilling, green energy

Republican presidential candidate says we need to drill new wells now, while supporting innovative transportation technologies and "the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas."

John McCain says nation must drill new oil wells now, while supporting innovative transportation technologies and "the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas." Declan McCullagh/CNET News

ST. PAUL, Minn.--John McCain formally accepted the Republican Party's presidential nomination here on Thursday in a speech extolling the virtues of both oil drilling and green energy.

The Arizona senator received one of his loudest rounds of applause when he lashed out at his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, and characterized the dispute over oil drilling as a matter of international relations and security as well as economics.

"We are going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don't like us very much," McCain said. "We will attack the problem on every front. We will produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells offshore, and we'll drill them now."

He added: "Sen. Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power. But Americans know better than that. We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and to restore the health of our planet."

McCain's speech comes a day after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, his vice presidential pick, said her state was ready to provide more energy for America. "The fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all," she said.

McCain went out of his way to tout green technology. In addition to building more nuclear power plants, he said: "We will develop clean coal technology. We will increase the use of wind, tide, solar, and natural gas. We will encourage the development and use of flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles."

A comparison of McCain and Obama's energy plans shows that the Republican opposes existing federal government ethanol production targets and would eliminate a tariff on Brazilian ethanol, a move that would expose U.S. producers to more competition. Obama supports the ethanol regulations (one factor that has led to higher corn prices), wants to raise automotive fuel-efficiency rules, and is not willing at the moment to support expanding nuclear power.

Last month, Obama signaled he might be open to new offshore drilling in some circumstances.