Dear Fellow American,
I try to promote causes that I believe help to make America the greatest country in the world. Among these are important
environmental causes, for I believe that one of our major responsibilities is to protect America's environmental values for
The challenges to our environment are never ending, and so we must remain vigilant. Right now, for example, the U.S. Senate
is preparing to vote on major legislation that will determine our energy future. We all must hope that the plan will be one
that calls for a sane, balanced energy policy that reduces our country's dependence on oil and other fossil fuels in favor
of alternative and renewable energy sources and improved energy efficiency. We do not need to immediately stop drilling for
oil, and no one is calling for that. But we do need to begin seriously reducing our dependence upon it, something that makes
us vulnerable to foreign oil-producing countries and has a devastating effect on our environment by fouling our air, land
and water and worsening global warming.
Perhaps worst of all, when senators vote on this energy bill, they will be confronted with an amendment by some who want
to give permission to Big Oil to drill in our finest remaining wildlife sanctuary, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For
21 years, the conservation community has fought successfully to fend off one attempt after another to drill in this place
so often called "America's Serengetti." To this point we've won every fight. But environmentalists MUST win every fight, for
the opposition only has to win ONCE and we could forever lose this incomparable ecosystem that is home to hundreds of bird
species, polar bears, muskoxen, grizzlies, wolves, caribou, and more. Sadly, drilling proponents believe this upcoming Senate
vote will be that one time.
The reason is that oil drilling supporters are using the current national fight against terrorism to justify violating
the pristine Arctic refuge. But this is foolish. Of course we need to enhance our energy security, and of course we should
include in our plan a rational continued use of oil and other fossil fuels. But a BALANCED energy plan would recognize that
true energy security can only come from significantly reducing our dependence upon fossil fuels, and thus would use oil, natural
gas and coal to purposefully help us bridge to greater use of renewable and alternative energy sources, while providing incentives
to improve overall energy efficiency. Drilling for oil in the refuge, when it cant reach market for probably 10 years, is
definitely not a plan to help us promote energy security. It is a plan whose overriding purpose is not to help this country
but rather to maximize industry profits.
Our move in a more sane energy direction is possible right now with existing technology that can improve energy efficiency
(e.g. by raising fuel economy standards in our cars and SUVs), tap into neglected reserves of oil and natural gas in areas
that are not vulnerable to serious environmental degradation, and expand our use of solar and wind power and other energy
sources. This kind of rational plan can save consumers money, protect our environment and reduce our vulnerability to foreign
manipulation of oil supply and prices.
Poll after poll shows that this is what the majority of Americans want. Only the strong political voices of the fossil
fuel industry and its allies stop us from moving in that direction.
We can overcome those voices with our own voices if we choose to speak as one and to do so right now. I am frequently inspired
by the small yet profound contributions our citizens make in building our great country, and I want to urge my fellow citizens
to help shape our energy future in a manner that both ensures a vital and secure economy and protects our proud environmental
The key to passing a good energy bill in the U.S. Senate is to defeat Big Oil's amendment that would approve drilling in
the Arctic refuge. This is not just because the refuge by itself is so important, but because that is the place where our
supporters in the Senate have drawn a line in the sand. If we win that key vote, the chances are the balance of the bill will
go our way too. But if we lose...
Groups like Defenders of Wildlife, which has fought so long and hard to protect the refuge, need our help now more than
ever. And you can help. It's easy. All you need to do is to send a message to your two senators stating that you want an energy
plan that both provides enhanced energy security and protects the environment for our children and their children. Just click
here (link deleted) and let your voice be heard, and then forward this message to those you know who should also help at this
The voices of the special interests are loud and omnipresent. But ours is a strong political democracy where the will of
the majority still is the most important factor in determining U.S. policy. You can help make democracy work and at the same
time contribute to protecting America's environmental values for future generations. Please take a moment right now to participate
in this important democratic process. Thank you.