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Oil Spill Sparks Call to Action on Clean Energy Legislation: NRDC Poll

Wesley Warren

Posted May 7, 2010

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The catastrophic Gulf oil spill has changed the politics of clean energy legislation. Americans want change and they want it now.

Seven in ten say it's time to fast-track clean energy legislation that begins to break our dangerous addiction to oil by increasing our use of sustainable and renewable power and fuels.
Two-thirds insist we must delay new offshore oil drilling until we learn the lessons of this disaster and put new safeguards into place to prevent something like this from ever happening again.
Those are the results of an independent poll released today by NRDC. The poll was conducted by Belden, Russonello & Stewart, a Washington research and communications firm. BRS queried 803 registered voters nationwide in a scientific survey May 4-6. The poll results have a margin-of-error of 3.5 percentage points.

Respondents were asked "do you favor or oppose ... fast-track legislation that will require greater emphasis on renewable forms of energy and quickly move the country off our dependence on oil?"

The response: 71 percent favor such legislation; 44 percent said they "strongly favor" such a bill; 27 percent said they "somewhat favor" it. 

Respondents were also asked whether they support or oppose Congressional action to "delay any plans for new drilling off the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific Coast until a full investigation of the oil spill is complete and safeguards can be put into place."

The response: 68 percent favor that course of action - 44 percent "strongly favor" and 24 percent "somewhat favor."

It's no surprise to me that Americans watching this ghastly disaster unfold are seeing it as a wake-up call for action we urgently need to take.  Earlier this week NRDC called on President Obama to help lead us in this direction. 

Some 3 million gallons of crude oil have streamed into the Gulf of Mexico since the April 20 explosion of British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil rig in water nearly a mile deep.
A marauding oil slick the size of West Virginia is poisoning the deep ocean and threatening ecologically fragile coastal waters, beaches, wetlands and air.
Legions of fishermen, crabbers and oystermen have been idled in a fertile region that supplies 40 percent of the nation's seafood.
And our clean-up capacity has changed little since the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster left 11 million gallons of oil in Alaska's Prince William Sound two decades ago. We're pretty much limited to trying to scoop up the oil, disperse it with heavy detergents or burn it off the surface of the water.
The fact is there is no satisfactory remedy for an oil spill of this magnitude. We just have to pay the horrible costs playing out before our eyes.
This country can do better than that. We must do better. We must begin now.
It's time for the Senate to pass clean energy legislation that will reduce our reliance on oil by promoting greater efficiency and more wind, solar and other cleaner and less risky sources of energy.
And we certainly can't afford to drill more offshore oil wells until we can know from a full and independent investigation exactly what caused this accident, how we can prevent anything like this from happening again and how we can protect the environment on which so many depend for their very livelihoods.

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jimmyMay 9 2010 03:12 PM

Clean energy is a fine thing. However, lets not get so far ahead of ourselves that we stop all of our drilling before we come up with the means to support ourselves in another way.

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