Sen. Clinton outlines her energy fund plan

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) yesterday outlined her proposal for a Strategic Energy Fund aimed at weaning the U.S. economy off of its dependence on oil by diverting oil-company tax breaks to investment in biofuels, clean coal and other renewable energy sources.

In a speech to the Apollo Alliance, a partnership between labor, business and liberal-leaning advocacy groups that will make the rounds on Capitol Hill this week, Clinton tied alternative energy to economic security. Clinton’s plan, which she began discussing during an energy-policy swing through upstate New York this week, would direct oil-industry profits reaped during the Bush administration to cutting-edge and climate-friendly research.

Clinton is slated to introduce legislation tied to her proposal this week. But the Republican National Committee (RNC), conscious of energy’s relevance in the Iowa caucuses, issued a preemptive strike on Clinton’s proposed clean-energy fund with a list of 17 previous votes she has taken against the ethanol industry. The RNC likened Clinton’s energy rhetoric to Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) during his 2004 White House run.

Clinton’s speech came as her presidential campaign’s high-profile online fundraising drive went down to the wire on its goal of $1 million in contributions. Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have sent e-mail appeals to grassroots donors during the weeklong push, but Clinton’s campaign was about $111,000 short with a half-day remaining yesterday.