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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

www.beyondoil.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 30, 2010

Contact: Kristina Johnson, Sierra Club, (541) 914-9744 
Maggie Kao, Sierra Club, (202) 675-2384
David Solimini, Truman National Security Project, (757) 876-0295

 Veterans, Labor, Environmentalists Urge President Obama to Strive for
FREEDOM FROM
OIL

10,000 American Flags Planted in Front of
Washington Monument

Washington, D.C. – Today, veterans, union leaders and environmentalists gathered in the shadow of the Washington Monument to call on President Obama to end America’s dependence on oil. Starting as an online campaign planting 50,000 virtual flags, volunteers began last night planting 10,000 actual American flags on the National Mall spelling out “FREEDOM FROM OIL” to represent those asking the President to respond to the BP disaster in the Gulf with a bold plan to move America off of oil and into a clean energy future.

Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune was joined by Truman National Security Project COO, former US Army Captain, and Iraq veteran Jonathan Powers and Communications Workers of America Senior Director George Kohl.

Images available here:

Remarks of Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club

"These flags represent tens of thousands of Americans who have watched the BP disaster in the Gulf and want to make sure it never happens again.  In our nation’s 244-year history, we’ve faced many daunting challenges, and we have risen to meet them. We are confident that with President Obama’s bold leadership we can achieve Freedom From Oil and put American innovation to work to end our dependence on oil and create a clean energy future."

"There is no doubt that our nation's addiction to foreign energy sources represents a dire security issue, and our country must take some serious steps toward Freedom From Oil by developing solutions that can end our oil addiction and make our nation more secure."

"We haven't even stopped the massive flow of oil from BP’s gushing well yet, let alone begun to respond to the damage it has wrought – and yet the oil industry and many others want to keep drilling off our coasts. They claim it’s the only way to boost the local economy and keep people employed."

"It is unconscionable that Big Oil and its allies would like to declare the region a dead zone in which the only jobs to be had are from more oil drilling."

"This disaster should be a wake up call. We can't return to business as usual and face another disaster like this. It's time to stand up to the oil industry, increase our transportation choices, reduce the need to drive, and embrace the clean energy solutions that will create good, lasting jobs while keeping our fresh air, drinking water, and oceans intact."

"We need President Obama's leadership to deliver a plan to end our dependence on oil over the next twenty years.  Every day that we fail to act is a day that we continue to place American security, economy, and climate in jeopardy. We can do better – we can end our oil addiction, and we need President Obama to lay the path to oil independence."

Remarks of Truman National Security Project COO Jonathan Powers:

Former Army Captain and Iraq veteran Jonathan Powers remarked, at the event, “It is a shame that we will let yet another July Fourth pass us by without ending our unnecessary dependence on oil – a dependence that is funding the bullets that our enemies fire at our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It is for that reason, and many more, that the fight for energy independence in is being fought here at home, a struggle we hope more Americans will join in support of those who are fighting abroad.”

Remarks of George Kohl of Communication Workers of America:

Our members work in communications building high-speed broadband networks, which will play a critical role in reducing emissions and improving our environment.

Our ability to connect to the world-wide web at world-class speeds is an essential infrastructure for 21st century jobs and a green economy.  These networks bring vital information and services to our hospitals, schools, libraries and homes. Yet with all our vast wealth, this critical infrastructure is still out of reach for 100 million Americans. 

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