Obama disappoints on drilling

Candidate criticized for welcoming flawed proposal that includes offshore drilling as well as subsidies for dirty liquid coal and nuclear power; Obama should stick to his own plan—it’s a better solution

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Barack Obama signaled openness to offshore drilling this weekend and his campaign issued a statement “welcoming” an energy proposal from 10 senators that would allow such drilling and subsidize liquid coal and the nuclear power industry. Friends of the Earth Action President Brent Blackwelder had the following response:

“Friends of the Earth Action endorsed Barack Obama in May in large part because he spoke out against the ‘gas tax holiday’ gimmick that would have done nothing to reduce our dependence on oil. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see Obama now say he would consider expanding offshore drilling, even though he knows it is not a real solution to the energy crisis that is devastating our environment and our economy.

“Additionally, the specific legislative proposal ‘welcomed’ by Senator Obama contains other harmful provisions, including subsidies for extremely dirty liquid coal and for the nuclear power industry. Meanwhile, the positive aspects of that proposal are too limited to bring about the dramatic reduction in our use of fossil fuels that is needed. Let’s make no bones about it: America is at an energy crossroads, and if we continue business as usual, we will destroy our climate and economy and jeopardize our national security. We need bold, rapid leadership to end our reliance on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, Senator Obama did not show such leadership this weekend.

“In contrast, the plan Senator Obama is announcing today is a much better approach. While not perfect, Senator Obama’s proposal is a serious response to our nation’s most pressing energy problems. It includes support for plug-in hybrid vehicles, a national renewable electricity standard, and a low carbon fuel standard, among other solutions. Senator Obama should focus on continuing to advocate real solutions and avoid yielding to oil companies and allowing more offshore drilling.”


Contact: Nick Berning, 202-222-0748