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

For Immediate Release:
September 4, 2008

Contact: David Willett, 202-675-6698

McCain Speech Unlikely to Reflect True McCain Record on Energy
Energy Policy Based on More of the Same—Oil, Coal, Nuclear

Minneapolis, MN: Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope on the evening John McCain delivers his nomination acceptance speech:

"Tonight John McCain will try to lay out a vision for America. While he was once willing to stand up to his own party, now that he is running for President he supports the same Bush policies and powerful special interests that put our economy in the grip of the oil companies."

"Perhaps to chants of 'drill baby drill', McCain will likely gloss over his former opposition to off-shore drilling and his own admonition that drilling will only bring 'psychological relief, and instead embrace the Bush plan to drill off protected American coasts despite the fact that America only sits on three percent of the world’s oil supply and drilling will only benefit Big Oil's bottom line."

"With the pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for his running mate, John McCain's race towards the Bush administration's failed energy and economic policy was complete. After reversing his position against off-shore drilling while raising oil money in Texas, one of the last remaining independent policies putting him at odds with Bush was his opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  He picked a running mate who has opposed holding Big Oil accountable and been dismissive of alternative energy and global warming while focusing her work on more oil drilling in a wildlife refuge and off of our coasts."

"His main proposals for addressing the energy crisis won’t have any real impact of gas prices for consumers, but will create real profits for Big Oil, nuclear and coal industries.  A balanced energy proposal would include real commitment and investment to the clean energy technologies that will create millions of American jobs—yet despite his campaign rhetoric, McCain has failed time and again to support these common-sense solutions that would give our sagging economy the boost it sorely needs."

"Barack Obama will help America’s families cope with rising energy costs and tough times by changing our energy policies now. He has a sensible plan that will help families who are squeezed by high energy and gas prices, and he has a long term strategy that will move America off of oil. He will expand our energy options and invest in a clean energy future that will create good paying jobs that won’t be outsourced jobs that our nation so desperately needs."

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Paid for by the Sierra Club Political Committee,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.


Fact Sheet: John McCain—Embracing George Bush’s Outdated Energy Policy

John McCain Has Voted to Give Billions in Taxdollars to Big Oil and Wants to Give them Billions More

  • John McCain supports continuing $13 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to big oil. He is now proposing an additional $3.8 billion in corporate tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies. This plan would cost $1.7 trillion overall and put any hope of balancing the budget well out of reach. (Sources: New York Times, 06/17/2008; Grist, 05/16/2008; Center for American Progress Action, 05/27/2008)   

John McCain Has Voted Against Clean, Alternative Energy John McCain features wind turbines in his campaign commercials, yet he has actively opposed and voted against the policies needed to make the clean energy economy a reality.  McCain is against requiring any of our energy to come from clean, alternative sources and opposes giving incentives to developing clean, alternative energy sources.

  • John McCain—like President Bush, coal companies, and the utility industry—opposes a Renewable Electricity Standard and has consistently voted against such a standard in the past. (Sources: 2005 Senate Vote #141, 6/16/2005; 2002 Senate Vote #50, 3/14/2002; 2002 Senate Vote #55, 3/21/2002; 2002 Senate Vote #59, 3/21/2002)  
  •  John McCain believes the renewable energy industry is "doing fine" and doesn’t need any incentives. While John McCain favors billions in new incentives and existing subsidies for dangerous nuclear power, he has voted against tax incentives for the renewable energy industry. If key clean energy incentives that are in danger of expiring soon are not renewed, it could cost more than 116,000 hardworking Americans in the wind and solar industries alone their jobs and sacrifice $19 billion in economic growth.  Sources: (Sources: Grist, 10/1/07; 2006 Senate Vote #42, 3/14/2006, Navigant Consulting study, 02/04/2008)

John McCain Said Offshore Oil Drilling offers "Psychological Relief"

  • John McCain’s plan for the unfettered "exploration and exploitation" of our coasts, to use McCain’s own descriptions of his offshore oil-drilling proposal will not lower gas prices or give consumers the relief they need. McCain admits his plan would offer only “psychological” relief, while even the Bush Administration admits that it won’t do anything to lower prices today, tomorrow, or even a decade from now.   (Sources: Washington Post, 06/16/2008, ABC News, 06/24/2008; Energy Information Administration)
  • John McCain repeats the lie that offshore drilling is environmentally safe and that no spills occurred as a result of hurricanes Rita and Katrina.  In fact, the two storms resulted in 6 major, 5 medium, and over 5,000 minor spills—resulting in a total of over 9 million gallons of oil spilled. (Source: U.S. Coast Guard:

John McCain Wants $1 TRILLION Worth of New Nuclear Plants--but doesn't want waste in Arizona

  • John McCain wants to build 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and then 55 more after that—effectively doubling the number of plants and amount of highly toxic waste we’d have to deal with. (Source: Bloomberg News, 06/19/2008) 
  • By utility companies’ own estimates in recent regulatory filings, this plan could cost at least $1 trillion.
    (Source: EnergyBiz, May/June 2008, ) 
  • McCain admits that it’s extremely dangerous and insecure to have thousands of tons of high-level nuclear waste sitting at reactors across the country--he doesn't want it in Arizona, yet proposes doubling the size of the problem. (Source: John McCain, YouTube: )   

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