President Barack Obama on Wednesday wrapped himself in green themes and even imagery — including a fighter jet that uses a plant-based fuel — but that wasn’t enough to convince any environmental groups that his plans for offshore drilling were a fair compromise on the path to a clean energy future.
While Republicans criticized the proposed new leases in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic as limited, environmental activists were as vigorously opposed — but for reasons having to do with oil spills and carbon emissions tied to climate change.
For many activists, the sense was one of betrayal.
GALLERY: President Obama
“Today’s announcement is unfortunately all too typical of what we have seen so far from President Obama — promises of change, a year of ‘deliberation,’ and ultimately, adoption of flawed and outdated Bush policies as his own,” said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, which has made a name for itself by filing endangered species lawsuits.
“Drilling our coasts will do nothing to lower gas prices or create energy independence,” added Michael Brune, who recently took over as director of the Sierra Club. “It will only jeopardize beaches, marine life, and coastal tourist economies, all so the oil industry can make a short-term profit.”
Instead, environmental groups said, greater effort should be placed on renewable energy, improving vehicle mileage and making other energy uses, from refrigerators to home heaters, more energy efficient.