Drill, Baby, Drill: The (barely audible) Jewish response
04/02/2010 - 08:08
James Besser

The Reform movement, which really wants to like President Barack Obama even while some other Jewish segments bash him because of the diplomatic chill with Israel, isn't exactly happy with his newly announced energy policies, which some environmentalists say could turn East Coast beaches into a gooey mess and actually forestall genuine energy independence.

Rabbi David Saperstein, the longtime chief of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism who is closer to Obama than just about another other Jewish leader, welcomed this week's announcement of new “clean car” standards, but warned that “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.” (Read the complete RAC statement here).

And the rest of the administration's revised energy policy could move the country in the opposite direction, Saperstein said.

“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,” he said in a statement. “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.”

The RAC wants U.S. policy to move in the opposite direction – ending, not expanding, “drilling in ecologically sensitive areas.”

And the RAC is “skeptical of the President’s recent call to expand nuclear energy development.”

Interestingly, for all the talk in Jewish communal circles about energy independence as a top goal and for all the environmental concern of other major Jewish groups (JCPA,where are you?), the RAC's was the only statement I received on this week's momentous energy policy announcements.

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