Friday, June 4, 2010

Environmental group calls on Obama to support clean energy

 Ahead of President Barack Obama's third visit to oil-hit Louisiana, the head of the oldest US environmental group called Thursday for him to develop the coastal industry into a hub for sustainable energy.

"We stand in support of the 35,000 oil and gas workers in Louisiana who are trying feed their families," Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, told AFP. "It's not the fault of the workforce that America has become dependent on dirty sources of energy," he said.

As crude from a sunken BP-leased oil rig continued to devastate the Gulf's fragile wetlands, Brune urged Obama to redirect 10 billion dollars in annual federal incentives from oil and gas interests to developing a new energy economy based on wind, solar, and geothermal power, among other alternative sources.

"Places like Venice and the Gulf of Mexico... areas that have been the backbone of the industrialized fossil fuel-based economy, need to be the first places where we create a clean energy economy," Brune said.

"Knowing that we're not going to end all oil drilling tomorrow... we have the opportunity to aggressively phase in clean energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal (power)," he said.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal pointed out earlier this week that a prolonged moratorium on offshore drilling championed by Obama would threaten thousands of jobs in the state.

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