February 7, 2006

Saudi minister slams costly alternatives to oil

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Mandating costly alternatives to oil in
the name of a cleaner environment could impoverish people and
lower living standards, the Saudi Arabian oil minister said on

"I believe that we should not impoverish people in the name
of a cleaner environment," Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi told
an energy conference. "Lowering living standards, or limiting
peoples' ability to rise out of poverty, in order to improve
the environment trades one potential health hazard for

He said that would be the result of asking consumers to
give up oil for a less efficient and more costly alternative
fuel that would otherwise be uneconomical.

Naimi's comments came a few days after U.S. President
George W. Bush said America was addicted to Middle Eastern oil.
He also committed to raising alternative energy funding by 22
percent for clean coal, wind and solar power, ethanol, and fuel