President Obama is using the environmental disaster of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as leverage to gain support for the stalled Democratic climate change bill in the Senate.
The president sent his campaign supporters an e-mail today seeking to generate support for the climate change proposal, which has had trouble digging out from under a blizzard of other priority legislation this session. The House has passed its proposal, while the Democratic Senate measure lags, and Republicans are forming their own.
And just last week, The Hill blog reported that vulnerable House and Senate Democrats wanted to avoid voting on the issue before midterm elections to help hold onto their jobs.
Obama’s e-mail plea notes that the country’s energy dilemma will not end even if the BP spill crisis ends. The only way to provide for America’s energy needs is to “promote a new economy powered by green jobs, combat climate change, and end our dependence on foreign oil,” he says in his e-mail.
Following is the text of his e-mail:
“The BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast is the worst environmental disaster of its kind in our nation's history. I am returning to the region today to review our efforts and meet with families and business owners affected by the catastrophe.
“We are working to hold BP accountable for the damage to the lands and the livelihoods of the Gulf Coast, and we are taking strong precautions to make certain a spill like this never happens again.
“But our work will not end with this crisis. That's one of the reasons why last week I invited lawmakers from both parties to join me at the White House to discuss what it will take to move forward on legislation to promote a new economy powered by green jobs, combat climate change, and end our dependence on foreign oil.
“Today, we consume more than 20 percent of the world's oil, but have less than two percent of the world's oil reserves. Beyond the risks inherent in drilling four miles beneath the surface of the Earth, our dependence on oil means that we will continue to send billions of dollars of our hard-earned wealth to other countries every month -- including many in dangerous and unstable regions.
“In other words, our continued dependence on fossil fuels will jeopardize our national security. It will smother our planet. And it will continue to put our economy and our environment at risk. We cannot delay any longer, and that is why I am asking for your help.
“Please stand with me today in backing clean energy. Adding your name will help Organizing for America create a powerful, public display of support for making this change happen.
“The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a new future. That means continuing our unprecedented effort to make everything — from our homes and businesses to our cars and trucks — more energy-efficient. It means rolling back billions of dollars of tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energy research and development.
“Many businesses support this agenda because shifting to clean energy creates opportunities for entrepreneurship. This is how we will reinvent our economy — and create new companies and new jobs all across the country.
“There will be transition costs and a time of adjustment. But if we refuse to heed the warnings from the disaster in the Gulf — we will have missed our best chance to seize the clean-energy future we know America needs to thrive in the years and decades to come.
“The House of Representatives has already passed a comprehensive energy and climate bill, and there is currently a plan in the Senate — a plan that was developed with ideas from Democrats and Republicans — that would achieve the same goal. But this is an issue that Washington has long ignored in favor of protecting the status quo.
“So I'm asking for your help today to show that the American people are ready for a clean-energy future.
“Please add your name to mine:
“President Barack Obama”
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