Muckraker: Grist on Politics

The Sierra Club and United Steelworkers made a joint announcement this morning in Cleveland that the groups are throwing their support behind Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama.

“We believe Sen. Obama is the change our nation needs — he is the leader who will put America on the path to a clean energy economy that creates and keeps millions of jobs, spurs innovation and opportunity, and makes us a more secure nation,” said Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope in a statement before the official endorsement event.

The groups presented their endorsement in front of a wind turbine at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland. Pope was joined by Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, USW president Leo Gerard, and Sierra Club president Allison Chin.

The Sierra Club has been expected to endorse the candidate for some time. Earlier this week, Pope released a statement chastising Republican presidential candidate John McCain for calling for an end to the moratorium on offshore drilling.

“Drilling our last undeveloped coastlines will do nothing to ease pain at the pump for the average American family. It will only add to the oil industry’s tens of billions of dollars in record profits,” said Pope. “If Senator McCain is really interested in breaking our addiction to oil, putting America back to work, and tackling global warming, we urge him to reconsider his support for the failed policies of the past.”

The Sierra Club is one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organizations, counting 1.3 million members and supporters. United Steelworkers represents 850,000 workers in the metal, rubber, chemical, paper, and oil refining industries in the U.S. and Canada. The two groups have also joined together to form the Blue Green Alliance, which promotes green jobs and energy independence.

“The Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers are standing together in support of Barack Obama because we all share the common goal of putting America back to work by building a clean energy economy,” said Gerard in the groups’ statement.