In his first address from the Oval Office, President Obama resolutely addressed the nation tonight about the unending disaster in the Gulf. He took a hard line against BP, promised to restore the beautiful ecosystems of the Gulf and, perhaps most importantly for the long-term health of the nation, said his Administration will do everything possible to break our addiction to oil.
Saying that he will refuse to "settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom," the President sought to rally the nation to invest in clean energy, to adopt policies that unleash American innovation and "seize control of our destiny."
In a statement tonight, I welcomed the President's speech on behalf of NRDC. I do believe that the President is sincere in his stated desire to move America beyond dirty fuels. He recognizes that our economic health depends on competing with China and other countries that are investing in clean energy technology. He recognizes that our national security depends on stopping the billion dollars we send to other countries each day for oil.
Some have already said that the environmental community will be disappointed with the President's address. And perhaps some will. Some will be disappointed with the lack of specifics for comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation that we fervently hope the Senate will take up this summer. Some of the wonkier among us will be disappointed that the President didn't say with more specificity how he plans to deal with long-term policies that mask the true cost of oil.
But for the moment, I will choose to trust the President and believe that tonight's address will be the first of a long series of presidential speeches that will lead the nation forward to a clean energy future. We will do everything in our power to help the administration deliver on this vision. And we will seek to hold him accountable if he fails to live up to tonight's lofty rhetoric.