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

September 16, 2008

Contact: Kristina Johnson: 415-977-5619

"Drill-Only" Representatives Refuse to Address Energy Crisis
House Republicans Prove They Only Answer to Big Oil

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope on the passage of Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act and the rejection of the House Republicans attempt to force a drill-only alternative:

Today, House Republicans were given a chance to vote on a true "all-of-the-above" energy package that includes both clean energy and expanded offshore drilling. But despite significant offshore drilling provisions in the bill, an overwhelming number of House Republicans attempted to reject the bill and force a substitute to the House Leadership’s energy package, complaining that it did not go far enough to help oil companies—fortunately they failed.

Today, Republicans in the House were given a chance to pull America out of its energy crisis, and they refused. Majority leadership reached across the aisle to offer a package that includes both clean energy provisions and expanded offshore drilling. But supporters of Big Oil dug their heels in, refusing to support a truly comprehensive energy package because it did not do enough to help the oil industry and instead attempted a stunt to force a drill-only approach.

If House Republicans were honestly interested in clean energy, consumer protection, or a crackdown on ethics at federal agencies, they would have supported this package wholeheartedly. Instead, they fought it, proving beyond a doubt that their single, narrow aim is to increase profits for the oil industry.

For months, they have held up clean energy legislation, instead calling for a drill-only policy which will do nothing to lower gas prices, protect consumers, or solve our energy crisis. They have continued to demand that we open more of our nation's coasts and public lands to drilling, which will lock us into a future of dependence on oil. They have maneuvered to undermine any bill that doesn't put the oil industry first and hardworking Americans last.

With their latest failed trick, many Republicans in the House confirmed without a doubt that they will not be satisfied until the oil industry has an even tighter grip on our economy.

Unfortunately we can expect only more of the same in the Senate in the coming days and weeks. We oppose bills like the Gang of 10 proposal because they fail to provide a compromise solution that works for all Americans. We do not need a wishlist of polluting energy giveaways with only a token nod to clean energy. Proposals based on the same failed policies that primarily benefit outdated energy industries are the kinds of policies that led us into this crisis in the first place. We need to help the consumers suffering from high energy costs. Bills that focus on liquid coal, nuclear power and increased drilling while doing almost nothing for renewable energy and even less for efficiency aren’t balanced.

Congress should take this opportunity to help pull us out of our energy crisis by creating a true, comprehensive, 'all of the above' energy compromise. While far from ideal, the energy package offered by Democratic leadership in the House at least included significant investment in clean energy through a Renewable Energy Standard, improved public transit and green building measures, and an extension of clean energy tax credits. Congress should protect consumers through a crackdown on oil speculation and drilling royalty loopholes, and offers low-income energy assistance. Of course the House package also included compromise provisions for expanded offshore drilling but a package of clean energy measures would help solve our energy crisis and protect consumers--a stark contrast to a drill-only policy, which will do nothing but endanger our coasts and add to Big Oil's profits.


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