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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
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For Immediate Release:
November 5, 2008

Contact: David Willett, 202-675-6698


"New Energy for America" Trumps "Drill Baby Drill."
Sierra Club Statement and Summary


 Summary of Sierra Club political activity

 Video Highlights of Energy in the 2008 Elections

 Complete list of Sierra Club Endorsed candidates:

Statement of Cathy Duvall, Political Director of the Sierra Club.

Yesterday "New Energy for America" trumped "Drill Baby Drill."

Barack Obama made this election about hope, change and opportunity. Over the last several months, environmental groups did the same thing by talking to voters about the enormous opportunity to make real progress--taking action on energy that reduces our dependence on foreign oil, creates jobs and kick starts the economic recovery, saves consumers money and cuts the carbon that causes climate change.

Obama spoke of using more clean energy to create jobs, secure energy independence, and fight global warming and Americans clearly approved of that message.

In the 2008 elections, energy was:

  • A symbol of change in Washington and in our national priorities;
  • A signal of values it provided voters with a quick read on two fronts -- whose side are you on -- Big Oil's or America’s families, and are you part of the past or the clean energy future?
  • Finally in 2008, it was made clear that the steps we need to take to help our economy recover will help our climate recover

In 2006, the star image of many campaigns was wind turbines.  In 2008, we saw plenty of wind turbines, and solar panels, and renewable fuels and advanced technology, but the symbol this year was the America worker in a Green Job.  Workers building those wind turbines and installing those solar panels, demonstrating the power of renewable energy to put America back to work.

For the first time candidates and voters are really connecting the dots between energy, the environment and the economy. Barack Obama, in particular, made it clear that investing in cleaner energy will be "priority number one" in his plans for economic recovery.  And the steps we take on energy to help our economy recovery will help our climate recover.

The results validate a positive vision. In many ways, McCain and Palin attempted to define this election around 'drill baby drill', but Obama provided an alternative. Like one of the final ads from the Obama campaign portraying McCain’s policies through the lens of a car rear-view mirror, yesterday voters solidly rejected policies of the past in favor of energy policies of the future.

What does this mean for the agenda of the environmental movement? Yesterday Americans elected a strong leader to the White House and strong environmental majorities in the House and Senate, and we will be able to work with those majorities to create clean energy solutions in America.

The first big change will be in the philosophy and style of government.

  • Accountability. We expect much more transparency and accountability in the government process. We saw some of that with more hearings and oversight from Congress in the last two years where industries like Big Oil are being taken to task for their behavior. We can expect more scrutiny of those who would violate the public trust as well as greater enforcement of environmental laws.


  • Democracy. Under Bush many rules have been rushed through with little or no regard for public comment. We expect a sound public policy process.


  • Restoration of Science. We can expect policy based on scientific evidence that is realistic and achievable. Barack Obama demonstrated throughout his campaign that he understands the gravity of the problems we face, and we expect him to offer policy solutions.

But beyond the general philosophy, electing Barack Obama will allow America to move to a clean energy future. We expect to work with him on:

  • Investing in clean energy to create millions of new jobs. Obama’s own energy plan talks about a minimum of $150 billion over 10 years to invest directly into clean energy to create 5 million new jobs. 

  • Reducing our dependence on oil by making cars go further on a gallon of gas, increase the use of alternative fuels, innovative transportation technology;


  • Move America to renewable energy for electricity and dramatically increase the efficiency of our buildings and homes;


  • Under Obama we have the opportunity to finally tackle global climate change by establishing an economy wide cap on carbon emissions and ensuring that carbon permits are auctioned not given away.  By taking actions at home we should be able to provide leadership on the international stage to both work with and be competitive with other nations as we invest in these advanced technologies;

In addition we will be pushing for action that acknowledges the consequences global warming is already having and the need to protect communities, wildlife and their habitat from drought, intense flooding, wildfires and the other changes we are already experiencing

Fortunately these goals align with the pledges that Obama and many in the new Congress have campaigned on--and are a smarter way to go with limited federal funding because investing in clean energy will provide Americans with the best return. 

Bottom line -- the steps we need to take to help our economy recover will help our climate recover and it's in that sweet spot we will work.

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