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Obama to unveil alternative energy proposal

President Obama today will urge Congress to establish a research fund for transportation and fuel alternatives, called an Energy Security Trust, according to White House officials.

The president will tour and give remarks at Argonne National Laboratory just outside of Chicago, a Department of Energy facility for scientific research that specializes in advanced battery production. He will propose setting aside $2 billion over the next 10 years for an Energy Security Trust, which aims to support research and development for electric vehicles, domestic biofuels, fuel cells and U.S.-produced natural gas.

White House officials say the Mr. Obama's proposal would be paid for with royalties generated from off-shore drilling in federal waters and with revenues generated from permitting reforms proposed in the administration's new budget. Officials emphasized the royalties would not come from new drilling and development projects, only development already included in their current 5-year plan.

The president initially proposed the idea last month in his State of the Union address saying his goal with the Energy Security Trust was to "to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good."

"I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and our water," he said.

Potential bipartisan support for the idea may come from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who, following the State of the Union Address, released a statement saying the Energy Security Trust was "an idea [she] may agree with," and that she "intend[s] to get to work on this as soon as possible."

White House officials said they had reached out to both Murkowski and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in crafting the proposal and feel that the Energy Security Trust is a bipartisan idea where conversations on Capitol Hill will be "fruitful."

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