Sierra Club Airs TV Ad Backing Obama’s Energy Policies

Sierra Club airs ads supporting Obama's energy policyThe Sierra Club has launched a television spot in major cities in Ohio, Colorado and New Hampshire supporting Barack Obama’s plan to address the high oil price which includes a $1,000 relief payout to working families. The environmentalist organization slammed the energy and gas policies of republican candidate John McCain. The Sierra Club, which tends to support democrats but has also occasionally supported GOP candidates in the past, is the first environmental group to publicly take a stand in the energy security dominated electoral race. Ironically, the ad was aired one day before Obama changed his stance on offshore drilling in Florida. 

We support the policies of Barack Obama,” Teresa McHugh of the Ohio Sierra Club was quoted as saying in one Ohio newspaper.
“We believe he gives relief for American consumers.”

The environmental group also took to the streets of Columbus (OH), saying that they are aiming their ad and placard campaign to undermine John McCain’s proposal to cut corporate taxes.
A press release, published on Sierra Club’s website, outlines that one motive behind the club’s move was week’s news that big oil companies posted profits of a quarter of a billion – a record.

“[This] underscores why America cannot afford another president who sides with Big Oil instead of consumers,” the press release explains. 

Despite his shift in stance concerning offshore drilling the day after airing of the Sierra Club ad, Obama explained to reporters in The Palm Beach Post why he might be willing to open the state of Florida to offshore drilling.

If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage – I don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t get something done,” Obama said.

The move would be part of an attempt to develop a “comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices,” according to Obama. In the past, the Democrat has been opposed to exposing more coastline to drilling. The Sierra Club did not comment on this issue on its website last Saturday but the group has historically taken a strong opposition to offshore drilling

While soaring gas prices have crippled our economy and hardworking families are hurting, the big oil companies are rolling in some $40,000,000,000 in profits in just the past three months alone,” said Cathy Duvall, Sierra Club Political Director.
“Barack Obama has a plan that takes on Big Oil and would provide us with $1,000 in real relief to get us through today’s crisis, while putting us squarely on the road to energy independence. Meanwhile, John McCain’s taken over $2,000,000 in campaign cash from Big Oil and now wants them to have another $4,000,000,000 in government giveaways. We literally cannot afford another president who sides with Big Oil instead of American consumers.”

To give you an indication of the kind of numbers the Sierra Club is talking about:

  • ConocoPhillips raked in $5,400,000,000,
  • BP pulled down $9,470,000,000 (exceeding analysts’ expectations by more than $1,500,000,000),
  • Shell just days ago announced a record of $11,560,000,000. ExxonMobil’s quarterly profit is expected to come in around $13,000,000,000 — the largest ever posted by a corporation, anytime, anywhere.

A recent Rice University analysis shows major oil companies are investing only a small percentage of their profits in exploration – a mid-single digits figure unchanged since the 1990s. The same analysis highlights that the industry’s spending on stock buybacks and dividends has increased from 1 percent of profits in 1993 to 55 percent today. That’s a telling sign.
Outlining the stark contrast between the Democrat and Republican energy plans, the Sierra Club pitched the main issues on which the two are diverging; John McCain wants to slash the corporate tax rate. “This would not only permanently bust the budget with its $1.7 TRILLION price tag, but it would tremendously benefit Big Oil,” the Sierra Club believes, pointing out that John McCain already refused to cut off more than $13,000,000,000 in government giveaways to Big Oil in the past. According to the organization’s calculations, this new plan would benefit just the five largest American oil companies alone $3,800,000,000 each year. 

The environmentalists say that over 230 leading economists confirmed that John McCain wouldn’t do anything to help ordinary US citizens and would instead just add to the oil companies’ record profits. 

In addition to promising families $1,000 in immediate tax relief, Barack Obama says he wants to create over 5 million new jobs to build the clean energy economy. He also intends to invest $150 billion in renewable energy. Obama wants to pay for the immediate relief to citizens faced with the hardship of high petrol prices by ending the government tax breaks to big oil corporations. 

Meanwhile, John McCain’s campaign made yet another attempt to ridicule Barack Obama, airing a new web ad  showing Obama as a quasi-divine figure (see the YouTube video), mocking the Democrat who has recently returned from an overseas trip during which Europeans went berserk over the man. It was the second majorly mudslinging attack by the Arizona senator. “It shall be known, that in 2008, the world will be blessed,” the video’s commentator is heard saying in a one minute long text. “They will call him, ‘The One.” The footage includes Charlton Heston’s act of Moses in the movie “Ten Commandments.”

Related Story:
Big Oil Fatten Up at the Public Trough

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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  1. Saying that that some oil from ANWR or offshore may be exported or it wont lower gas prices is a very stupid reason for not drilling there! Take an class in economics. If we export a million barrels from ANWR and import a million barrels from somewhere else, it costs us nothing. If we import a million barrels and export none it costs us 140 million dollars! Research and development of alternative energy sources is great and we should do that, but as long as we are useing more oil than we are producing we need to drill as much as possible. If we end up with more oil than we need we can sell it to China to pay for all our imported lead painted toys!
    Democrats say drilling would not help because we wont get the oil for 10 years, a great argument they have been making for a decade – Jay Leno


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