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

Contact: Kristina Johnson, Sierra Club
415.977.5619

Off-Shore Lease Sale Underscores Arguments Against Drilling

In a lease sale today for drilling rights to 1.8 million acres off the western Gulf of Mexico, ninety percent of tracts made available by the federal government went without bids. The high bidder in the lease sale was a Norwegian company, Statoil. 

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope

"Big Oil keeps telling us they need access to more of our coasts. Today they were given access to millions of acres of new drilling, but they failed to even bid on 90 percent of the area made available to them.  And of the areas bid, we can expect it to take around a decade for any oil to come to market. 

"The high bidder in today's lease sale was a Norwegian company. This is a stark reminder that there's no guarantee that the oil from today's sale will directly benefit Americans. If we allow Big Oil to have its way, foreign oil companies may take possession of more of America's special places."

"The oil industry already has access to millions of acres of America's land and coasts, but that's not enough for them. They say they need our last protected places—pristine shorelines on the East and West coast and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge--yet when given the opportunity today, 90 percent of the area available to them received no bids."

"Handing over more of our country to Big Oil won't do anything to lower gas prices, it will just help the richest industry in the world get richer."

"Instead of allowing Big Oil to set our energy policy in ways that only benefit them, we should be focusing on real solutions that will benefit all Americans. We need short-term tax credits to offset the cost of gas, and we need to invest in clean energy solutions like wind and solar power and technology that makes a car go farther on a gallon of gas."

For more information visit www.sierraclub.org/bigoil or www.sierraclub.org/coasts

Background:

Yesterday Rep. John Boehner, the House GOP leader, used an opinion piece in the Washington Times and a press release to attack the Sierra Club's energy policy as "anti-American."  This statement follows weeks of hysterics from Boehner and other members of his caucus over energy issues. House Republican Leadership claims that they support a comprehensive, "all of the above" energy approach, but immediately attacked just such a compromise the minute it was offered.

Over the weekend Sierra Club stated that Speaker Pelosi's new compromise energy legislation 'will force drilling supporters to admit whether they really want to move America forward or simply want to continue helping the oil companies.'  Boehner's hysterical response to Pelosi's plan tells us exactly where he stands before any votes have even been cast.  We now have proof positive that Boehner has chosen Big Oil over hard working Americans.

Despite months of complaining and political stunts, Boehner and his allies are now refusing to fast-track comprehensive energy legislation.  Taking a cue from arch-conservatives Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, they oppose a compromise plan that will support renewable energy, give consumers real relief at the pump, put America on the true path to energy independence, and take back billions in government giveaways to Big Oil. So much for 'all of the above.'

They held the Congress hostage and blocked measure after measure while gas prices soared.  Now they want to stop yet another comprehensive energy bill that would deal with our energy crisis because they think it will help them win an election.  Their bluff has been called and now all they have to rely is overheated and inaccurate rhetoric to defend their indefensible blockade against real energy solutions.  They'll do—or say—anything to protect Big Oil and the billions in government giveaways it continues to receive while we pay record prices at the pump.    

Boehner is complaining that renewable energy, common sense policies that will bring immediate relief at the pump, and taking away billions in government giveaways from Big Oil are 'poison pills.'  Boehner and other 'none of the above' supporters will find out soon enough that opposing clean energy and being in the pocket of Big Oil is what's really poisonous.

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