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

Contact: Kristina Johnson, 415.977.5619
              Josh Dorner, 202.675.6698

Sierra Club Applauds Senate for Rejecting Failed Energy Policies
Bush, Conservatives Call for More of the Same in Response to Growing Energy Crisis

Washington, D.C.-Today, the U.S. Senate voted down an amendment by a margin of 42 to 56 (60 votes were needed for approval) that would have opened pristine lands and coastal waters, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to new oil drilling.  It would have also promoted the use of expensive, dirty, and dangerous “unconventional” fuels produced from liquid coal and oil shale.

Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Pete Domenici, (R-N.M.), attempted to tack their disastrous Domestic Energy Production Act tack onto the flood relief bill.  This follows a renewed call from President Bush and his allies on Congress for more of the same disastrous energy policies that have saddled us with our present energy and economic crises.  By contrast, last week the Senate leadership introduced a plan to actually protect consumers and invest in the clean energy solutions we need—the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008.

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope

“The answer to our oil addiction is not to search for a bigger fix. Drilling our coasts and national treasures like the Arctic Refuge and spending billions on dirty and expensive boondoggles like liquid coal and oil shale won’t help hardworking Americans cope with gas prices. It will only add to the tens of billions of dollars the oil industry is already making.

“Even at peak production, which could take twenty years, the Arctic Refuge would provide roughly a year’s worth of oil and would reduce gas prices at most by one or two cents a gallon. 

“Under the leadership of President Bush and his allies in Congress, gas prices have more than doubled, Big Oil has made more than half a trillion dollars in profits over the past five years, and the United States has become even more dangerously addicted to fossil fuels.

“Hardworking Americans need real relief instead of the recycled rhetoric and disastrous energy policies that the president and his allies in Congress have pushed for the past seven years. Thankfully the leadership in the Senate has put forward a plan that will actually protect consumers, put America on the path toward a clean energy future, and finally put the brakes on the taxpayer-funded giveaways that have been helping fuel Big Oil's record profits.

“Instead of searching for more ways to pad Big Oil’s bottom line, the Consumer-First Energy Act offers Senators a chance to stop writing a blank check to Big Oil and instead protect consumers and invest in clean energy. 

“These are the kind of answers we need—solutions that will bring energy costs under control, combat global warming, and leave America’s last wild places intact.”


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