Declaring Our Energy Independence
by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
July 12, 2002

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
There is nothing patriotic about handing over our natural heritage to the oil industry. But that's exactly what the White House wants to do in the name of national security.

I'm asking you to join me in opposing the senseless destruction of our environment by signing the Declaration of Energy Independence. The declaration calls on our government to pursue a sustainable energy future that will preserve — not destroy — our last, unspoiled wildlands.

We have little time to lose. With the nation's attention focused almost exclusively on the war against terrorism, the Bush administration has moved quietly but aggressively in recent months to open up fragile wildlands to giant energy corporations. In Utah, they were in such a hurry to lease millions of acres of our redrock canyonlands for oil and gas development that they skipped the environmental review that is required by law. My colleagues here at NRDC have already gone to federal court to block this illegal giveaway of redrock country.

The Bush-Cheney energy plan — hatched in closed-door meetings last year with Enron and other energy giants — would pave the way for oil and gas companies to despoil an alarming number of our last wild places, including the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, Wyoming's Red Desert and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

President Bush says we need the oil to become more energy independent. Don't buy it! Using the tragic events of September 11th as an opportunity to advance the special interests of the oil industry will not enhance America's energy security. Our nation simply doesn't have enough oil to drill our way to self-sufficiency.

The Declaration of Energy Independence proves that fighting terrorism does NOT require the destruction of our own natural heritage.

Please do your part by visiting and signing the Declaration of Energy Independence. It will take less than a minute. Then forward this message to your family and friends. If millions of us sign the declaration, the White House and Congress will be unable to ignore its message.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is a Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council

Declaration of Energy Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That our nation’s excessive dependence on Persian Gulf oil gives unstable and undemocratic governments undue influence over our foreign policy.

That our nation possesses only three percent of the world’s oil reserves but consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil supply and, therefore, can never drill its way to energy self-sufficiency.

That exploiting natural treasures such as the Greater Yellowstone area would supply only a tiny fraction of our oil needs and would therefore prolong energy insecurity while senselessly destroying our natural heritage.

That raising fuel economy standards would save 1.9 million barrels of oil per day – four times the expected peak output from the Arctic Refuge and more oil than we imported from Saudi Arabia last year.

That our government could further slash oil consumption by: raising fuel economy to 55 mpg by 2020; requiring replacement tires to be as energy efficient as those installed on new cars; enacting tax incentives for hybrid and fuel cell vehicles; reinvesting in public transit; promoting anti-sprawl “smart growth” of our cities; accelerating the development of plants for making motor fuel from crop wastes; ensuring production of 100,000 vehicles that run on non-polluting hydrogen fuel cells by 2010 – and one million such vehicles by 2020.

That pursuing this path of self-reliance will benefit our health, save us billions of dollars, preserve our environment, slow global warming, and enhance America’s national security.

We, the people of the United States of America, therefore call upon our elected leaders to lead an energy revolution that will reduce our nation’s destructive reliance on oil and set us on a sustainable path toward lasting oil independence.

I hereby pledge my support to the above principles of energy independence.

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