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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press contact: Rob Perks, NRDC, 202-289-2420
If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at nrdcinfo@nrdc.org or see our contact page.

NEW VOICES IN NATIONAL ENERGY DEBATE SEEK TO "RE-ENERGIZE AMERICA"

Leaders Call for National Commitment to Reduce Oil Dependence by Pursuing Clean Energy Technologies, Cleaner Cars and Renewable Energy Sources

WASHINGTON (April 18, 2005) -- Leaders representing powerful political constituencies not usually associated with the debate over national energy policy today joined forces to launch a new campaign to "Re-energize America." Reflecting the growing national consensus on the need to reduce U.S. oil dependence, these leaders are concerned about how national security, job growth, faith-based stewardship and the Western way of life are affected by energy choices. At an event today at the National Press Club, they urged government leaders to embark on a new path toward a cleaner, more secure energy future for America.

"Our continuing reliance on oil and energy technologies of the past is a serious national security challenge that threatens our economy, our health, and our quality of life," said Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, USN (Ret.). "As a nation, we can rise to this challenge now, with clear action and modern technology to move beyond oil from unstable regions of the world." McGinn, now a national security consultant, is Vice President for Strategic Planning at Battelle Science & Technology International.

William Klinefelter, the political director of the United Steelworkers of America, made clear his belief that an energy policy that protects the environment also fosters a healthy economy. "We can create new jobs, bolster our economy and reduce the trade deficit if we just make the investments we need to shift to more efficient and cleaner energy options," he said.

Tweeti Blancett, a rancher from Aztec, New Mexico, spoke about how current policies promote reckless energy development that threatens livelihoods and the quality of life in the American West. "Northwest New Mexico has been sacrificed on the altar of corporate greed and political buy-offs, and what has happened to us is happening across the West," said Blancett, a sixth-generation rancher who ran the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign in her part of New Mexico. Blancett, who has become an outspoken critic of the administration's energy policies, suggested that ranchers like herself should "form an alliance with conservationists, farmers, hunters and fishermen, liberals and conservatives, and Republicans and Democrats to force the government to make sure that the energy industry treats our public lands responsibly."

Rev. Jim Ball, PhD., represented another important player in this effort, the faith community. "Millions of the world's poor could die in this century because of global warming," said Rev. Ball, the executive director of the Evangelical Environmental Network and creator of the 'What Would Jesus Drive' advertising campaign. In his view, making America strong by starting now to transition to more efficient technologies and renewable forms of energy is "the right thing to do."

"It's time to end our dangerous oil dependence. But simply subsidizing old energy sources and drilling our last best places won't protect our national security, our natural heritage or our planet's climate," added Gregory Wetstone, advocacy director for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), who moderated today's panel discussion.

Re-energize America is a diverse and growing coalition of concerned individuals and organizations that together reflect the fast-emerging national consensus that America must reduce its oil dependence and be responsible stewards of our nation's natural heritage. The best way to do that is to harness clean, renewable energy sources and alternative energy technologies here at home, and to vastly improve energy efficiency. Expanding our energy choices will stimulate innovation, create jobs, strengthen our national security and stop global warming. For more information, visit: www.reenergizeamerica.org.

To contact or schedule interviews with any of the speakers at today's launch of Re-energize America, feel free to reach Rob Perks at (202) 289-2420 or rperks@nrdc.org.

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