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For Immediate Release:

July 29, 2010

Contact: Maggie Kao, 202-675-2384

Sierra Club Supports Reid’s Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act 

Washington, D.C. – This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act.  The Sierra Club issued the following statement in response to the introduction.

Statement of Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director

“The Sierra Club supports Majority Leader Reid’s Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act to create jobs, lower consumers’ energy costs, reduce oil dependence, and hold BP accountable for the Gulf disaster.

It is imperative that the Senate pass the bill put forth by Majority Leader Reid before the August recess so we can invest more deeply in energy efficiency and hold BP and future polluters fully responsible for the cost of damage and clean-up of their environmental disasters.

But Republicans in the Senate have said that they will stand in the way of this effort.  They want taxpayers to foot the bill for the BP disaster and allow BP to use endless legal battles to run out the clock on those whose livelihoods they’ve destroyed – much like Exxon did to victims of the Valdez spill. 

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mitch McConnell claim to offer an “alternative” to the Majority Leader’s plan, but that alternative is nothing but a love letter to the oil industry that will do nothing to create the jobs we need, reduce our nation’s dependence on oil, or hold BP accountable for their disaster.

The Sierra Club strongly supports Majority Leader Reid’s focus on cleaning up and regulating the oil and gas industry through MMS reform and the House Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act. These bills will strengthen industry safety standards and prevent future catastrophes like the BP disaster. We also support provisions to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to benefit communities, ecosystems, and economies, and aid in the Gulf recovery.

We remain very supportive of legislation to protect public health and reduce global warming pollution.  Though the bills introduced today are not a substitute for a bold and comprehensive plan to increase the supply of clean energy and to break America’s oil addiction - if passed, they will begin reducing oil consumption and carbon pollution through incentives in the bill for electric vehicles and natural gas-powered trucks. And the inclusion of the HOME STAR program that rewards homeowners for purchasing energy-saving fittings for their homes will also create tens of thousands of badly needed jobs.

The Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act is a small but significant down payment to reduce America's oil consumption. And in the wake of the largest environmental disaster in American history, it is essential that Congress make further progress this fall with a strong, clear plan to get off oil and scale up clean energy."

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