Denver, CO—Tonight, in his first Oval Office address to the nation, President Obama will outline the government’s response to the disastrous BP oil spill, and is expected to call for a comprehensive clean energy and climate policy to help move the country away from oil. Environment Colorado’s field director Gavin Clark issued the following statement in anticipation of the President’s address:
“From the 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, to the fishermen whose livelihoods are now in jeopardy, to the oil-soaked birds and threatened marshes, the BP oil spill has demonstrated in heartbreaking terms the dangers of our addiction to oil. Our first priority must be to do whatever is necessary to repair the damage that has occurred in the Gulf—and ensure that those companies responsible for this disaster are footing the bill.
“But looking forward, we need to move away from the energy sources that threaten our environment, our local economies and our national security, and move instead to clean, renewable energy solutions like wind and solar power. We cannot afford to expand drilling to new areas, and President Obama should act immediately to permanently protect areas like the Atlantic coast, the eastern Gulf and the Arctic oceans that have been spared from drilling thus far. We also need to waste less energy, by constructing buildings that use a fraction of the energy consumed by buildings today, by making cars that go farther on a gallon of gas, and by expanding public transportation systems so that more trips can be taken without any car at all.
“We have known about these clean energy solutions for years, but our elected officials have continually opted for more of the same dirty energy policies. Thankfully, President Obama has already bucked this trend by showing strong leadership in moving America toward clean energy. Most recently, the clean car standards that his administration finalized in April are the single biggest step taken in decades toward cutting America’s oil use, and will save consumers billions at the gas pump.
“Tonight, as President Obama discusses the disaster in the Gulf, he is expected to call for a new chapter in this nation’s energy history. Environment Colorado seconds the call for a new, clean energy future, and urges the President and Congress to work together to pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill this year that ensures four main things: First, the Gulf communities and ecosystems must be made whole as much as possible, and BP—not the American taxpayer—needs to pay for the clean-up; second, we need to adopt a robust set of oil savings policies to drastically decrease our demand for oil; third, we need to set strong global warming pollution limits to encourage the shift to cleaner energy sources; and fourth, we need unprecedented support for clean energy sources like wind and solar power to make this clean energy future a reality.
“In the face of the disaster in the Gulf, President Obama and Congress have a historic opportunity to move our country away from oil and toward a clean energy future. For the sake of our environment, our economy and our national security, Environment Colorado urges our leaders to seize this opportunity.”