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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2011

Contact: Maggie Kao, 919-360-0308 or maggie.kao@sierraclub.org

Statement on State of the Union by Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune:

Washington, D.C. –

“Tonight President Obama laid out important priorities for putting Americans back to work, renewing America’s role as a global leader in innovation and protecting the health of our nation’s families.  There is no better way to do that than with a clean energy economy.

We agree with the President that with soaring oil prices, national security concerns, and disasters like the BP Gulf disaster, now is the time to move beyond dirty energy.  And as the President stated, one important way to start is by eliminating subsidies for Big Oil.

Whether it is investment in wind and solar power or improved transportation choices and infrastructure, there is strong support among the American people for a clean energy economy that works for America. While the Sierra Club is firmly opposed to the misconception that coal or nuclear power can ever be clean, we want to use this moment to focus on the strong message the President sent about true clean energy sources and how these innovations will lead to new prosperity and good jobs.

As the president mentioned, investment in technology like high speed rail and electric cars are critical to breaking our dangerous addiction to oil, creating jobs and cleaning up our air.  The production of EVs has already created more than 2,000 jobs and those numbers are expected to grow dramatically as we move towards a goal of one million EVs on the road by 2015.

We are also encouraged by the President’s promise to enforce commonsense safeguards to protect our air, water and health.  Americans’ fundamental right to clean air and water faces its greatest threat in 40 years at the hands of corporate polluters and their cronies in Congress – the President must stand firm against those who would roll back clean air standards, block clean energy job creation and endanger our health.

However, the Korea Free Trade Agreement mentioned by the President favors corporate interests over American families and businesses.  This outdated, failed trade model unfairly favors foreign investors and corporations, granting them the power to directly challenge laws made to protect the public interest and the environment. 

The President and Congress face a stark choice: keep America tethered to 19th century economic policies and dirty energy sources that make us sick, or bring America into the 21st century and put us on top in the global clean energy race.”

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