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Senate Energy Bill Falls Short on Clean Energy, Jobs
Sierra Club Opposes Current Bill After Weakening in Committee Undermines Clean Energy Jobs, Promotes Aggressive Offshore Drilling Program

Washington, D.C.--Today the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported the "American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009."  Sierra Club announced its opposition to the bill in its current form and offered the following comments.

Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director

"Numerous changes to this bill during consideration by the committee have significantly undermined its integrity and ability to build the clean energy economy. Unfortunately, we must oppose this legislation in its current form. While it makes positive strides in setting new energy efficiency standards for our buildings and appliances, it falls far short of what President Obama has called for in order to repower America with renewable energy, create millions of new clean energy jobs, and fight global warming.  It needs to be significantly strengthened as it moves to the Senate floor, where we believe there is majority support for considerably stronger clean energy policies.   

"In particular, we are deeply disappointed with the Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) reported by the committee.  It lacks a separate energy efficiency requirement, is even weaker than the compromise provision in the House clean energy jobs plan, and will not result in more clean energy and clean energy jobs than the status quo.  It was also significantly compromised by changes to its structure and the addition of dirty energy sources like coal mouth methane and municipal solid waste incineration.  The worst changes could also mean no new clean energy or energy efficiency at best, and could even be used to fund the development of coal and nuclear energy. 

"We are also very dismayed that restrictions passed by Congress just two years ago in order to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to purchase dirty, dangerous, destructive, and expensive liquid coal and tar sands fuels are partially repealed by this bill.  Tar sands oil is the dirtiest oil on earth. Liquid coal is twice as polluting as standard fuels.  They have no place in America's new clean energy economy, and they certainly have no place in any serious clean energy legislation.

"Another area of very serious concern is the bill's offshore drilling provision.  Chairman Bingaman had struck a reasonable, balanced approach for moving forward in this very contentious area.  Regrettably, this approach was discarded in favor of an aggressive drilling plan that will put our coasts at risk, feed our addiction to oil, and do nothing to help build the clean energy economy--all while benefitting Big Oil.  

"Chairman Bingaman and many others support strengthening the bill on the Senate floor.  We will seek improvements that will allow the bill to actually deliver more clean energy, slash energy waste, create new clean energy jobs, and speed our transition away from dirty coal and oil toward cleaner, cheaper energy sources like wind and solar.  We look forward to offering our support to a final bill that achieves these critical goals and lives up to its title."    

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