Yesterday, we saw a relentless Republican attack on one of our most treasured natural wonders sneak through the Senate on a 51 to 49 vote. But, we also saw more than 260,000 Americans act in less than 24 hours to add their names to our Citizens' Roll Call in favor of protecting the Arctic Refuge.
It was the first time ever that I or anyone else could stand on the Senate floor and announce that, in a day's time, a quarter of a million Americans had gone online to express their passionate support for a given course of action.
That awesome display of grassroots power rattled our opponents. They even railed against my e-mail message on the Senate floor and entered its text into the Senate record. So, think of it this way. The Republican leaders of the Senate have 51 reasons to celebrate today, but you and I have 260,000 reasons to do the same.
If we keep working together - committed pro-environment Senators and a powerful grassroots movement all pulling in the same direction - we can still stop the plan for drilling in the Arctic from making it the rest of the way through Congress. And we can win the larger battle over two very different visions of America's energy future.
George W. Bush and the Washington Republicans have a plan to sell off our public lands to powerful special interests. As a result of their ruthless drive to undermine America's most beautiful natural treasures, the oil rigs are closer to the Arctic Refuge than they have ever been. But, the Bush administration's own scientists and economists admit that the Republicans' plan will not make us less dependent on foreign oil and will not lower prices at the pump. We have to put America's energy future in the hands of Americans - by inventing our way to real energy independence and having energy sources that create jobs and lower prices.
With your help, we will continue to wholeheartedly resist their special interest-funded partisan agenda. And, if we act with the same energy and determination as we have on this critical Arctic Refuge vote, sooner than later, our power and commitment will carry the day. I know you will be with me every step of the way and I thank you for the passion and energy that you bring to our work together.
P.S. I told you that more than a quarter of a million people signed our Citizens' Roll Call in the first 24 hours after we launched it. Actually the news is even more impressive. As of this moment, there are over 400,000 signers to our Roll Call, including tens of thousands who signed after the vote to express their determination to keep fighting. Let's keep working.