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Let The Back-and-forth Over Energy Begin

President Bush will accept an increase in fuel efficiency standards but not a mandatory requirement for energy companies investing in renewable fuels, according to a letter his top economic adviser sent Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Monday.

Allan B. Hubbard, the director of the National Economic Council, sent Pelosi a highly anticipated letter Monday outlining a loose set of White House principles that set the parameters for negotiations over a sweeping energy package that the speaker is pushing on Capitol Hill.

Despite multiple veto fights, stalemate over Iraq and an impending fight over federal spending that have kept congressional Democrats at loggerheads with the White House all year, Pelosi and the White House both seem willing to compromise on the energy package, creating an opening for major legislation to overhaul the country's consumption, distribution and production of energy.

The big fights at the outset of these negotiations are likely to be over separate fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, the minimum requirement for renewable fuels blended into gasoline and a mandate on energy producers to provide a minimum percentage of their power through renewable fuels, such as wind energy.