In Wake of Oil Spill, Most Americans See Need for Clean Energy and Climate Legislation

This week, NRDC has been making the case that the Gulf Oil spill is a disaster that should shock the Congress into acting on a big scale to reform our energy system and get moving on clean energy and climate legislation. After all if we really want to prevent future oil spills, we have to cut back on our reliance on oil and the best way to do that is to pass strong legislation.

We've called on President Obama and the US Senate to seize the moment.

It looks like the White House gets it, according to news reports over the last couple of days, such as this one from E&E News (subscrip required):

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today that he expects public opinion to grow in favor of an energy bill as gas prices make their traditional summer climb and while the oil spill continues in the Gulf of Mexico.

"With what you see is going on in the Gulf, you understand that drilling and drilling alone isn't going to solve our energy problems," Gibbs told reporters. Asked about prospects for a climate bill in the light of the spill, Gibbs said, "It's more ripe than it ever, in all honesty, has been."

Carol Browner, the president's top energy and climate adviser, made a similar connection between the climate bill and the Gulf Coast spill during an an interview with Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital With Al Hunt," which airs this weekend.

And the American people get it as well, as a new poll by NRDC reveals. In it, we found that in the wake of the Gulf spill,

Voters strongly favor the passage of a clean energy and climate change bill, with more than six in ten (64%) agreeing the Senate should pass the bill and four in ten (39%) saying so strongly.

That's a pretty clear signal that the American public gets that we need to move America off of oil and dirty fuels, but that as NRDC Program Director Wesley Warren puts it, "Congress needs a response which is as big as the spill is."