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Reform Movement Urges Administration to Stay on Path to Clean Energy

Saperstein: “The only way to achieve true energy independence ... is to move from polluting fossil fuels to sustainable energy through comprehensive climate and energy legislation.”

Contact: Kate Bigam or Rachel Cohen
202.387.2800 |

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 1, 2010 – In response to a series of new energy policies announced by the Obama Administration, including both greenhouse gas emissions limits for automobiles and expanded offshore oil drilling, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We welcome today’s announcement by Administration officials of finalized “clean car” standards, a major step forward for energy and environmental security. Setting federal limits on vehicular global warming pollution will benefit our economy, environment, and health. These standards will reduce oil demand and help clean our air and protect our climate by limiting emissions from one of the leading sources of global warming pollution.

Federal vehicular emissions standards are critical, but they cannot stand alone. Emissions limits for automobiles must be part of a broader effort by the Administration and Congress to move our nation toward a clean energy economy that will ensure long-term environmental and national security.

We are therefore deeply disappointed by the Administration’s call to open our nation’s shores to oil drilling practices that will have few long-term energy security benefits but will endanger resources and ecosystems. The only way to achieve true energy independence, while honoring our mandate to be good stewards of God’s creation, is to move from polluting fossil fuels – both international and domestic – to sustainable energy through comprehensive climate and energy legislation.

At a time when we need clean energy alternatives to keep both our environment and our economy secure, we again call for an end to – not an expansion of –drilling in ecologically sensitive areas. Further, we remain skeptical of the President’s recent call to expand nuclear energy development. While the door should never be closed completely to energy approaches with the potential to ease our reliance on foreign oil, we ought not rely on alternatives such as nuclear energy or increased oil drilling until outstanding issues of human and ecological safety are resolved.

We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to build on this energy plan by passing comprehensive legislation that will protect environmental and human health, promote national security, and help build a clean energy economy.


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.

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