Earlier this week, President Obama made his fourth trip to the Gulf of Mexico to have another firsthand look at the catastrophic damage that the BP oil disaster has caused. He spent two days touring the oil spill damages in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. There, Obama gave a speech and took a ferry ride to the oil stricken islands outside of Alabama. He made the urgency of now clear about reducing the nation's addiction and dependence on fossil fuels.
The President summarized the facts of the oil spill and actions taken by BP and the Administration to date to contain the damage. The battle plan he laid out included commitments by the government and by BP to clean up the spill. But the critical parts of his speech, in my opinion, were the challenges to restore the Gulf region and to move beyond oil.
We applaud President Obama for using the first Oval Office Address of his presidency to level with the American people about the key underlying cause of the Gulf oil disaster -- our overwhelming addiction to fossil fuels that leads us to drill for oil in ever more dangerous places, and to look the other way when safety concerns are raised.
Read the rest of the statement here. We'll have more reactions soon. Stay tuned!
UPDATE: The Murkowski Resolution was just defeated in the Senate 47-53. Thanks to all of you who made it possible!
By 1Sky policy fellow Gabriel Elsner. -- Luis
The BP Gulf Disaster began 51 days ago, and the oil spewing from the ocean floor continues unabated. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., the dirty energy industry is trying to pass Senator Murkowski's (R-AK) "Dirty Air Act.” Senate Joint Resolution 26 will be voted on later today; if enacted, it would increase our reliance on oil by 1.8 billion barrels (.pdf) and allow the dirtiest coal plants to continue spewing dangerous carbon pollution. In other words, today may prove to be the biggest vote on climate change and energy in 2010.
The Administration strongly opposes Senate passage of S.J. Res. 26, which would undermine the Clean Air Act and hinder EPA’s ability to comply with a Supreme Court ruling on greenhouse gasses (GHGs). The Administration believes that comprehensive energy and climate legislation is the most effective way to transition to a clean energy economy that will create jobs, protect the environment, and increase national security. S.J. Res. 26 would do just the opposite; it would increase the Nation’s dependence on oil and other fossil fuels and block efforts to cut pollution that threatens our health and well-being.
Nothing in D.C. should really surprise me anymore. But this week, my staff pointed me to Senator Lisa Murkowski’s cynical and misdirected op-ed piece attempting to justify her assault on the Clean Air Act. The Senator’s justification for her “Dirty Air Act” -- Senate resolution (S.J. Res. 26), scheduled for a vote later this week -- really galled me.