THE BLOG
07/07/2010 12:16 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Please Step Up, President Obama, and Lead Us to the Clean Energy Future America Deserves

Another week is quickly passing and still we have no measurable progress on a workable climate and energy bill. It is now glaringly clear that only with President Obama's focused and direct leadership over the next several days will meaningful comprehensive global warming and energy legislation become law this year.

As Executive Director of the Sierra Club, I can tell the president that our 1.3 million members and supporters are growing increasingly frustrated at the inability of Congress and his administration to move forward in the face of the worst oil disaster in our history. And that only adds to the impatience already fostered by their leaders' seeming inability to address the overwhelming danger global warming poses to the economic strength of our country and the environmental integrity of the planet.

We recognize and appreciate President Obama's leadership on clean energy, yet the extremely limited legislative calendar clearly demands a much deeper and sustained level of personal involvement than he and his administration have demonstrated to date. The president's Oval Office speech about the disaster, while eloquent, did not set a clear goal to reduce oil consumption, establish a timeline in which it could be done, nor rally Americans together to be a part of the solution. His listening sessions with Senators have not led to even a cohesive approach, much less legislation.

This process is adrift, and our country urgently needs the president's leadership. We need the president to take control and ensure that a comprehensive legislative package is ready to be introduced by July 12 when the Senate returns from recess. We urge President Obama to work with Senate leaders personally, to direct his senior staff to finalize strong comprehensive climate and energy -- in short, to do everything necessary to get a strong bill introduced. Then we need the president's full participation with Senate leadership to pass the bill before the August recess.

We at the Sierra Club will be measuring the bill by what it can achieve. Specifically, it must reduce oil dependence substantially, create clean energy jobs, and reduce global warming pollution.

In particular, the Sierra Club believes a package must make significant progress to reduce oil consumption and address the root causes of the BP oil disaster.

Similarly, a bill should include a strong Renewable Electricity Standard, and investments in clean energy and efficiency that will create jobs and spur economic growth, as well as measures to significantly reduce global warming pollution. A comprehensive package cannot include giveaways to dirty energy companies.

President Obama's direct leadership was critical to the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and health care reform. It is also critically important to produce and pass a bill for our clean energy future. America's prosperity, the health and safety of our communities, the ability to meet our international commitments, and our national security rest on the action the president and his administration take in the days ahead.

We stand ready to support President Obama's leadership and work with his administration to pass genuinely strong climate and energy legislation.