Quotes from Members of the President’s Oil Spill Panel

Frances Beinecke, President of Natural Resources Defense Council

  • “The best protection we have against offshore accidents is to end our dependence on oil.” (NRDC blog, 5/4/10)
  • “America should halt new offshore leasing, exploratory drilling, and seismic exploration, including the exploratory drilling that is scheduled to begin in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in Alaska this summer.” (NRDC blog, 5/4/10)
  • “We must pass a clean energy and climate bill that is designed to prevent tragedies like this in the future–legislation that will shift America away from oil, toward cleaner and renewable sources that can’t poison our coasts.” (NRDC blog, 5/3/10)
  • “It is time for Congress to pass a clean energy and climate bill that will help us reduce our reliance on oil and protect our coasts—and our deepwater marine life—from further harm.”(NRDC blog, 6/3/10)
  • “We have pressed the White House to impose a moratorium all new offshore activity while an independent investigation is underway and to halt lease sales in fragile regions like the Arctic Ocean.” (NRDC blog,6/3/10)
  • “We need President Obama not just to support clean energy and climate legislation; we need him to demand it–to stump for it, negotiate for it, and help gather votes for it. And we need him to do it now.”(NRDC blog, 5/20/10)
  • “This commission…is one of the key recommendations I offered to the President in a letter sent on May 4.” (NRDC blog, 5/18/10)
  • “Expanding offshore drilling will take us backward, not forward.” (NRDC blog, 3/31/10)
  • “Offshore drilling would yield little cost or supply benefit, and yet it would pose serious long-term danger to our beaches and marine life.” (NRDC blog, 3/31/10)
  • “… sooner rather than later, America is going to pass a national climate law that will favor low-carbon fuels over polluting tar sands oil.” (NRDC blog, 8/25/09)
  • “We need to get this clean energy future started now.” (NRDC blog, 8/25/09)
  • “Offshore drilling is a needless risk, and there are better solutions to provide efficient, clean energy for America’s future.” (Chicago Tribune, 10/23/08)
  • “…it is critical for Obama to make a public commitment to support legislation that will cap carbon emissions” (Yale Environment 360, 12/18/08)
  • “We can blame BP for the disaster, and we should. We can blame lack of adequate government oversight for the disaster, and we should. But in the end, we also must place the blame where it originated: America’s addiction to oil.” (Huffington Post, 5/27/10)
  • “The president is also right to strengthen government oversight of the oil industry and issue new safety regulations.” (Huffington Post, 5/27/10)
  • “The president is right to cancel planned lease sales in the western Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia. And he is right to delay planned drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off the coast of Alaska.” (Huffington Post, 5/27/10)
  • “I believe in the power Adam Smith’s invisible hand because I’ve seen it work. But I believe just as deeply that we need that hand to have green thumb in order to make sure it’s pointed in the right direction.” (NRDC blog, 8/7/08)
  • “Offshore drilling—a puny proposal that the government’s own studies say will have “an insignificant” effect on the cost of oil—doesn’t even help the driving public now. Instead, Americans remain saddled with the same old problems: more pollution, more reliance on outdated fuels, and more delays in facing the reality of global warming.” (NRDC blog, 8/7/08)
  • “We need to learn from these experiences [of Europe] in finding effective and efficient pathways to reduce emissions dramatically.” (Washington Post, 11/18/09)

Donald Boesch, President of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science

  • “The impacts of the oil and gas extraction industry (both coastal and offshore) on Gulf Coast wetlands represent an environmental catastrophe of massive and underappreciated proportions.” (Washington Post, 5/6/10)
  • “Expanded offshore production would not significantly reduce dependence on foreign oil and that we should be redoubling our efforts to get off oil. I hope for Earth’s sake, that the winds will blow Congress out of its long-winded debate.” (Washington Post, 5/6/10)
  • “Hopefully, breaking the impasse that prevented even debate on the financial overhaul bill will now allow the Congress next to deliberate and pass comprehensive energy legislation that is crafted to dramatically reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions over the next four decades.”   [Boesch is speaking of debating and passing Kerry-Graham-Lieberman] (Washington Post, 4/29/10)
  • “Moving quickly toward transportation not powered by liquid petroleum is thus needed to reduce energy dependence as well as to limit the extent of global warming.” (Washington Post, 4/1/10)
  • “As I commented last week, greater fuel efficiency is a critical tile needed to get off foreign oil.” (Washington Post, 4/8/10)
  • Oil exploration off the coast of Virginia “probably will and should be delayed.” (Yahoo News, 6/20/10)

Terry D. Garcia, Exec. VP for mission programs at the National Geographic Society

  • [In response to Bush ocean protection plan] “While a hopeful sign for ocean conservation, monument or sanctuary designation alone does not necessarily convey strong protection and could allow commercial and recreational fishing, oil and gas exploration or deep-sea mining.” (Seattle PI, 9/10/08)

Cherry A. Murray, Dean of Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Lone member with an engineering background. Specialties are physics and optics. (WSJ, 6/22/10)

  • The following are not quotes from Murray, but quotes from articles by the American Physical Society (Murray is the current president)
    • “Global warming and the potential it has for causing major disruptions to Earth’s climate are scientific realities. (APS Report, 9/16/08)
    • “Whether you want the United States to achieve greater energy security by weaning itself off foreign oil, to sustain strong economic growth in the face of worldwide competition or to reduce global warming by decreasing carbon emissions, energy efficiency is where you need to start.” (APR Report, 9/16/08)

Fran Ulmer, Chancellor of the University of Alaska at Anchorage and Member of the Board of Directors of the Union of Concerned Scientists

  • According to the UCS 2009 Annual Report, “Powerful groups with a vested interest in the status quo—oil and coal companies, large manufacturers, and their lobbyists—have rejected or twisted the science, confusing lawmakers and scaring the public with visions of economic catastrophe if we curb our heat-trapping emissions.
  • Wants government policies “that will reduce vehicle miles traveled” (WSJ, 6/22/10)

Bob Graham, Former Florida Governor and former Senator

  • “It’s not that we are excessively dependent on foreign oil. It’s that we are excessively dependent on oil.” (Tampa Bay Blog, 4/27/09)
  • “We could establish 75 years as the goal [for oil independence]. To meet that goal, we would have to reduce domestic production, not increase it.” (Tree Hugger, 7/29/05)

Senate Voting Record on Energy Issues:

  • Voted YES on targeting 100,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010. (On the Issues, 06/03)
  • Voted YES on removing consideration of drilling ANWR from budget bill. (On the Issues, 03/03)
  • Voted NO on drilling ANWR on national security grounds. (On the Issues, 04/02)
  • Voted NO on terminating CAFE standards within 15 months. (On the Issues, 03/02)
  • Voted NO on preserving budget for ANWR oil drilling. (On the Issues, 04/00)
  • Voted NO on do not require ethanol in gasoline. (On the Issues, 08/94)
  • Keep efficient air conditioner rule to conserve energy. (On the Issues, 03/04)

William K. Reilly, Former Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

  • “In the first year, the Obama administration should quickly put the nation’s clean air laws and other appropriate authority to work to cut global warming pollution and help deliver dramatic reductions in oil use. (Yale Environment 360, 12/18/08)
  • “Carefully crafted actions on climate change, alternative energy, and new incentives for green technologies can put the country on a path to a future that better reconciles our environmental goals with our economic aspirations(Yale Environment 360, 12/18/08)
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