Energy bill is a dirty energy bailout, incentives offshore drilling

Media release - May 12, 2010
In response Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford issued the following statement:

We appreciate Senators Kerry and Lieberman for their work to address the urgent issue of climate change, and are concerned that this is largely a dirty energy bailout bill.

In the midst of a disastrous oil spill, we have a bill that incentivizes off-shore oil drilling. In the aftermath of a horrific explosion in the West Virginia coal mine, we have a bill that proposes to subsidize coal. And as Nashville dries out from historic flooding that may well be climate change related, we have a bill which does not present meaningful reductions in fossil fuel use and carbon pollution necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. It seems that after a year and a half wrangling, the only people who can be happy with this bill are the fossil fuel industry lobbyists.

Everything indicates that the American public wants and recognizes the need for a visionary policy on climate and energy. Unfortunately, this bill is inadequate on both fronts. We cannot support this bill unless the following elements change:

  • Inadequate Emissions Targets: The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shown that to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, the United States and other developed nations must achieve emissions cuts of 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80-95 percent by 2050. But this legislation only sets the goal of reducing emissions by some 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Rapid reductions in the short-term are critical to avoiding catastrophic impacts from global warming. With this weak start, it is clear that achieving the needed reductions would be impossible
  • Weakens the Clean Air Act: The bill strips authorities that the Environmental Protection Agency has to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act and the states' authority to set tougher emissions standards than the federal government.
  • Money for Dirty technology: The bill includes financial incentives for, among other things, nuclear power, offshore oil and gas drilling, and coal fired energy. This includes billions for "clean coal" technology development, as well as free permits for heavy emitters like manufacturers, oil refiners, and merchant coal generators.

It would be a real shame for President Obama and Senators Kerry and Lieberman to endorse nuclear power, just like they recently did for offshore oil drilling, only for another national catastrophe to follow.

We call on the President to push leaders in Congress to produce a climate bill that presents a clear road map for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, transforms our economy with clean, renewable energy technology, generates new green jobs and shows real leadership internationally. None of this is accomplished by giving billions of dollars to the coal and petroleum industries."

Contact:

Molly Dorozenski, Media Officer, 917-864-3724,

Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, 202-319-2456,