Sierra Club: Americans Want Jobs and Clean Energy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—(ENEWSPF)—November 3, 2010.  Today Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement regarding Tuesday’s midterm election results and an important victory against Proposition 23 in California.

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

“We did have a particularly bright spot in California.  San Francisco beat Texas in the World Series, and California thumped Texas in the fight for clean energy.

We played big and scored big against Big Oil with the defeat of California’s Proposition 23.  Despite more than $10 million spent  on deceptive advertising campaign funded by out-of-state oil barons—more than $8 Million from Texaco and Valero alone, to undermine the state’s landmark clean-energy and climate law, California voters took a stand for clean energy – not in spite of a major economic downturn, but because of it. As National Journal said last week, we could point to existing jobs that would be lost with the passage of Prop 23.

With the third-highest unemployment numbers in the nation, California voters chose clean energy as one of the best paths to recovery.

This victory also shows what can happen when we work together to create jobs and protect our environment. When given the chance to vote on the actual issues, the public embraced our belief that a clean environment and a strong economy are not mutually exclusive.

A broad coalition of clean tech companies, small businesses, public health advocates, social justice groups, environmental organizations, organized labor, seniors and young people, Republicans and Democrats, all worked in tandem to defeat Proposition 23 and continue our path toward a future powered by clean energy.

Not surprisingly, polling, including our own, shows that jobs and the economy were the top priority for voters this election and last night they showed their dissatisfaction with the current state of the economy and both political parties.  That will be the case until the country’s economic situation improves.  And the way to that future is a clean energy economy and good jobs for American workers.

This election was indeed the year of The Empire Strikes Back.  Big Oil and corporate polluters spent in record amounts to try to buy back our government—eclipsing progressive groups’ election spending by nearly two to one. According to the Alliance for Climate Protection, corporate polluters and energy interests spent 247 million dollars this year on advertising alone to target legislators in their fight to block clean energy jobs.

That said, it doesn’t appear that their attacks on clean energy contributed to Democratic defeats – 27 of the 44 House Democrats who voted against ACES have been voted out of office or retired.

The open question is with whom the new House Republican Majority will side.  With the Big Oil and Coal interests who expect a return on their investment? Or with the American people who want lawmakers to start making the choices that they’ve been making for years in their own lives and communities—saving energy in their homes and conserving resources for a cleaner, safer, and more prosperous America to pass on to their children.

Americans still want more jobs, less pollution and greater security.  When given the opportunity to vote directly on the clean energy issue, as we saw in Prop 23, voters will side with clean energy.  We have no intention of ceding America’s future to Big Oil.  We are confident that over the next several years we will make significant progress at the federal, state and local levels to build a clean energy economy made in America.”