Iowa Public Television


Venezuela President Touts Environmental Causes

posted on February 9, 2007

In an effort to cut back on oil use by his country, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is promoting his environmental causes. Chavez wants to invest some of the country's oil revenues in a venture to manufacture solar panels. He also is distributing millions of energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs to homes throughout the country. And he plans to build a windmill farm to generate electricity on the Caribbean coast.

Critics say Chavez's campaign is mostly rhetoric because the Venezuela government subsidizes fuel to the point consumer gasoline prices are 12 cents a gallon. He has however, said he plans to raise gasoline prices to encourage people to drive less and use public transportation.

While he wants to explore more uses for cleaner-burning natural gas, some environmentalists warn that Chavez's plan to build a South American natural gas pipeline across Brazil to Argentina could be an ecological disaster.

Venezuela is a country of 26 million people and is about twice the size of California. The country is the fourth-largest oil supplier to the U.S.

Tags: news oil presidents South America Venezuela