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Public Citizen at Netroots: BP is a hot topic

We’re here at Netroots Nation – a three-day confab in Las Vegas for progressive bloggers from throughout the country and those who care about progressive causes. So far it’s been really energizing and engaging. Our “Boycott BP” stickers have been flying off Public Citizen’s table in the exhibition hall. They are definitely a popular item and a great way to spread the word about our boycott campaign.

A lot of talk has focused on the BP oil disaster – no surprise, of course. And many have been quite eloquent about our energy problems and solutions. Van Jones (former White House special advisor for green jobs), said this morning that we need the need for us to look up to the sky, rather than down to the ground, for our energy needs. We have a “Saudi Arabia” of solar power here, he noted, and we should use it. “I’ve never heard of a sun spill,” he said to cheers. “I’ve never heard of a wind slick.”

A panel discussion about the BP disaster boiled down to one key point: The oil industry has a lock on Congress, so the only way to forge an energy policy for people is to get the money out of elections (can you say, “public financing of elections”?).

MSNBC host Ed Schultz spoke last night, rallying listeners to keep fighting the establishment to get sound policies. The keynoter was Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who is quite the storyteller (his ancestry traces back to Hannah Montana) but whose speech meandered a bit. He ended with a passionate plea for us to end our oil addiction so we don’t continue to send young men and women to war in the Middle East. He even teared up a bit when he talked about the funerals he has attended and the mothers he has talked to. It was a bit unclear exactly what his solution was – he raced past that bit. But he was fun to listen to.

Tomorrow we hear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Stay tuned.