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Dorgan talks financial reform, energy with Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., met with President Barack Obama and key budget advisers Friday to discuss financial reforms and energy issues under review in Congress.

Dorgan was one of four Democratic senators invited by the White House to meet with Obama and his top advisers to discuss the federal budget and other issues. Dorgan said they had "a pretty wide-ranging discussion about a good number of issues."

The North Dakota senator said he raised the potential for new financial reforms and regulations to help rebuild the economy. Dorgan has sought more accountability into the expenditure of economic recovery funds and joined with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to push for an investigation into the causes of the financial crisis.

"All of us want this economic recovery effort to succeed," Dorgan said. "The economic recovery effort takes many different shapes and one of it has to be how we evaluate our financial systems."

Dorgan said he also raised the need for a renewable energy standard that would expand the use of wind energy and solar power. The American Wind Energy Association has estimated that North Dakota has nation's largest wind energy potential, but supporters like Dorgan have noted the need for enhanced transmission capacity to deliver wind energy widely.

During the 45-minute session, Dorgan also talked to Obama about "the need to push hard on carbon capture in order to be able to continue to use coal and capture the carbon and protect the environment."

To address global warming, Obama has called for the use of a cap-and-trade system to set controls on carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon sequestration technology captures and buries carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants to control the emissions.

Researchers at the University of North Dakota's Energy and Environmental Research Center are studying the injection of carbon dioxide underground to see how well the gas bonds with low-grade coal.

Also attending the meeting were White House budget chief Peter Orszag and Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.