Sierra Club Will Back Obama-Cites McCain's Support for Offshore Drilling

By Dina Cappiello, Associated Press Writer | July 7, 2008 | 8:33 PM EDT

(AP) - The Sierra Club said Thursday it will endorse Democrat Barack Obama for president, a decision it said was made easier by Republican John McCain's support this week of repealing a moratorium on offshore drilling and expanding nuclear power.

"The contrast, which was already pretty sharp, just got razor sharp this week," the environmental group's executive director, Carl Pope, told The Associated Press. "At the end of the day, John McCain just signed up with the Bush policy of giving the oil industry what it wants."

A formal announcement by the Sierra Club was scheduled Friday in Cleveland.

McCain's campaign earlier this week unveiled an ad touting his environmental record, which includes his support for a mandatory reduction in greenhouse gases to reduce global warming. President Bush and most Republicans oppose requiring a reduction.

Many environmental groups held off on endorsing presidential candidates in the 2008 election until the Democratic primary was over.

In May, Friends of the Earth came out in support of Obama after initially backing former Sen. John Edwards for the Democratic nomination. The group said its decision was made when Obama opposed a gas tax holiday supported by McCain and Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The League of Conservation Voters and Defenders of Wildlife have yet to announce their endorsements.

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