Listening to Wednesday’s State of the Union speech, I wondered how some of President Obama’s references would play with environmentalists – specifically his call for more nuclear power, “clean coal” and offshore oil drilling.
Here’s the reaction from Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica:
Obama Speech a Kick in the Gut to Environmentalists
While we welcome President Obama’s call for comprehensive climate and energy reform – as well as his focus on job-creating high-speed rail and solar power – it was alarming to hear him refer last night to a variety of dirty energy sources, including nuclear, coal, offshore oil drilling and biofuels, as clean.
President Obama’s support for all these dirty energy sources was a big win for corporate polluters and their Washington lobbyists, but it was a kick in the gut to environmentalists across the country. The President was essentially telling these Americans that their voices don’t matter.
It’s a shame that while in so many other areas President Obama is calling for an end to the influence of corporate special interests and lobbyists, when it comes to energy policy, his approach seems to be ‘the door’s wide open.’
We elected him to make tough decisions, and ‘all of the above’ as an energy strategy is no decision. Letting special interests write energy policy is not changing the ways of Washington.
In addition, while it is great to talk about the job-creating benefits of clean energy, more is needed. President Obama has thus far failed to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to educate Americans about the catastrophic impacts unabated climate change threatens to create.
Last night, President Obama also voiced support for new trade agreements with a variety of countries. During his campaign, he pledged to rethink and reform U.S. trade policy. A majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives have proposed needed reforms that could make trade agreements more fair, effective and environmentally sustainable. President Obama should adopt these reforms before attempting to push any new agreements through Congress.
We are at a crossroads in our nation’s history, a time when truly transformational change is needed. The President spoke the truth last night when he said he cannot create this change alone. Americans who care about these issues must mobilize and push President Obama and Congress to be bolder.”
Friends of the Earth and our network of grassroots groups in 77 countries fight to create a more healthy, just world. Our current campaigns focus on clean energy and solutions to global warming, protecting people from toxic and new, potentially harmful technologies, and promoting smarter, low-pollution transportation alternatives.