President Obama tries to ease environmentalist fears
April 15th, 2011
09:32 PM ET
12 years ago

President Obama tries to ease environmentalist fears

Washington (CNN)- President Obama surprised a group of young environmental organizers Friday during what they thought was just a meeting with White House staffers about energy policy.

"We went in thinking we were meeting with senior staff and there walked in Barack Obama," said Courtney Hight, co-director of Energy Action Coalition, "We got to share with him what we care about."

Hight's group was taking part in Power Shift 2011, a conference of young environmental organizers gathering in Washington to focus on climate and energy policy.

The White House meeting highlighted a major rift President Obama and environmental groups: nuclear energy.

"We made it clear we don't support nuclear," Hight said. "The president said it's something he's going to continue to support, so we have a difference of opinion on that."

Hight said that while she feels the president has done good work on energy efficiency and renewables, she wants to keep the pressure to transition to what she called true clean renewable energy such as solar and wind.

Although there were differences in the details of energy policy, another organizer at the meeting saw the president return to his roots.

"We saw the community organizer side of President Obama come out in this meeting," said Maura Cowley, co-director of Power Shift. "I think we're hoping it's the beginning of a dialogue."

Later in the day at the actual Power Shift conference, former Vice President Al Gore brought the crowd to their feet with a boisterous speech about the environment and climate change.

"Our leaders have not done enough," said Gore. "All we need is the political will, and political will is a renewable resource."

Filed under: Al Gore • Environmental policy • President Obama
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Howard

    This is Obama's first step towards controlling communications for his own ambitious purposes. Obama already has a complicit mainstream media, so the only medium allowing free dissent is the internet. Obama knows the power of the internet, as he used it to raise the money which got him into the Whitehouse. And, he knows that those who oppose him actively use the internet to communicate and rally support. This attempt by Obama at controlling our communications, as well as controlling propaganda, is chilling. America must stop this, before it gets started. Obama, and his fellow thugs, Pelosi, Reid, Holder, Napolitano, and the rest, must be removed from our government, before our freedoms are taken, and our country is destroyed !!!

    April 15, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  2. T'sah from Virginia

    What is so difficult to believe that we have to be more "environmental savvy" in order to keep the future of the planet SAFE?? Unbelievers really feel that we have nothing to fear and we can continue to pollute our air, waters and earth!! We are NOT the only animals on this planet and we're NOT the only ones that need to survive on earth!!!

    April 15, 2011 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  3. skidaddy

    Perhaps Al Gore would not mind explaining his finanical interest in Generation Investment Management LLP, and in turn that entities finanical interest in the American Taxpayer, oops, the Chicago Climate Exchange. Any conflict there, Al?

    April 15, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  4. Sgt Schultz

    We need to transition away from nuclear plants that are dangerous to public safety – that are exposed to Earthquake faults, Tsumani's right along the ocean, and invest in renewable sustainable development. Minimally there should be a ban on building nuke plants near Earthquake faults, on the coast where they could get hit like Japan.

    April 15, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  5. bill

    2012 can't come soon enough.

    April 15, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  6. Jamie

    There are more young organizers at Power Shift than almost any Tea Party event, yet the media is mostly silent. Fair and balanced? I think this growing youth movement will take the country by storm.

    April 16, 2011 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  7. Marry

    The very good part is that the President is going to do all he can to bring the US into an energy efficient future and protecting the environment!
    The bad part is that the GOP/TP wants to preserve the status quo (including feeding the greed of the old industries). Too bad, they never look into the future, only at the next bottom line. They are surely missing great opportunities. Guess, always just talk about “Business” and “Jobs”!
    For the GOP/TP it is never the question what will serve the country. It is always how they can make the Administration fail and get the most out of the country just for themselves.

    April 16, 2011 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  8. The Greedy Old Pigs hate the environment!

    Sadly, the Dems are all we have left to protect the environment. Once upon a time there was a now-extinct group of Republicans who recognized the importance of environmental protections. Sadly, they've been replaced by a dysfunctional death cult that worships the almighty dollar above life.

    April 16, 2011 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  9. bobby

    Mr.President, "If we had a million mice running a wheel for our electricity,the repubs would say,its not safe,whos going to clean-up the poo? Mice poo,is toxic? The mice could escape and eat Mississippi? How else are we going to provide clean energy. I don,t know whats worse, Radiation or mice poo? If I,m going to die,Il,l take the stuff you can,t see or smell,Thank you?

    April 16, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  10. diridi

    instead of these, nab the guys who are hiding overseas banks, like swiss and India....bust....we appreciate...nation needs it...

    April 16, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  11. Marie MD

    The President and the Democrats need to stand firm against the party of hell no in environment issues, as well as endangered animals, doing away with education of our children (the more stupid you are the more likely you will vote rethug/teabagging) and making sure women, children, the vanishing middle class and the poor are taken care of.
    Think about it. We are talking except for 30% (mostly rethugs) of the population just 2% won't give you their riches just like they don't produce jobs or care about the rest of the 98% (including rethugs) of the population.

    April 16, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |