06/15/2010 07:03 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

President Obama: Give Us Our Future Back

President Obama's Oval Office speech tonight could be a turning point of historical significance for his legacy, America's security, and the world that we leave our children. Will President Obama give a grandiose speech followed by more politically expedient baby-steps, or will he set America on a new path?

Greenpeace BP Deepwater Disaster picture
View more images of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tonight, the President owes America the unflinching, spin-free truth: The only way to avoid more fossil fuel disasters is to move aggressively away from dangerous energy sources like oil and coal. We have all seen the devastating pictures from the Gulf: ruined beaches, oil-slicked birds, dead and dying marine life. I have witnessed it first hand. It is a mess we can't clean up. No matter what you hear, the best-case scenario is that we clean up 5-10% of the oil.

This is a turning point of immense historical significance.  If we miss the turn, we miss the chance to grab our future with both hands. For President Obama to show the leadership that people dreamed he would when sweeping him into office, he needs to declare a new Apollo program, the moon mission that invests in energy efficiency, clean energy, electric cars, public transportation, geothermal energy and safe biofuels that will help kick our oil addiction by 2030. President Obama must stand in the Oval Office tonight and turn away from apologies, excuses, and finger-pointing to seize this moment for America's future.

President Bush missed his chance to free America from the oil addiction that funds those who would attack our country. President Obama must not miss his chance to free us from the same substance that is now despoiling the Gulf.

Big oil, coal and nuclear companies have commandeered the President's energy policy. The recently-formed federal oil spill commission is headed by former EPA Administrator William Reilly, who has been on the Board of Directors at the Conoco-Phillips oil company since 2002. In an August 2009 sale, Conoco-Phillips finished second -- just after BP -- in snapping up deepwater leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

President Obama's Climate Czar, Carol Browner, is pressuring the commission to curtail the moratorium and rush into drilling again. If this commission, with its conflicts of interest, recommends a few safety and regulatory tweaks, it would be like a tobacco executive putting a band-aid on lung cancer.

We hope that the commission will take their responsibility seriously and use this as a moment to reevaluate our energy plan for the future, without relying on false solutions like nuclear power, "clean coal," or "safer" drilling. They must deliver an independent evaluation that isn't compromised by industry interests.

Since we can't turn back the clock, we cannot clean up the mess in the Gulf, and going back to our old dirty energy habits will only mean more environmental catastrophes in the future, the only remaining option is to start fresh and do it right this time.