A liberal think tank in Washington with close ties to the Obama administration got bum rushed by environmentalists Friday, forcing the president of the organization to swiftly wrap up a conference being held on climate change.
Ironically, the first words out of Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden's mouth in response to the disturbance was "this is not the forum," even though on stage with her was billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer, two state governors who are pushing for strong climate policies and activists with other environmental groups.
After being drowned out by chanting, Tanden quickly ended the conference, saying, "Obviously we got people excited."
The protesters appeared to be part of a campaign started by the Center for Biological Diversity to point out the hypocrisy of state officials who support taking climate action, but back natural gas development from shale. Target No. 1 was Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania. His state is the largest natural gas producer on the East Coast.
During the talks, Wolf blamed most of the environmental insensitvity in his state on his predecessors. "We need to recover from an administration that didn't take the environment seriously," he said. He said he has been attempting to work with his state's Republican-majority legislature to take steps to increase wind and solar energy.
The protesters called out the governor, before standing up and chanting "climate leaders don't frack" over and over, forcing Tanden to wrap things up early. Fracking is the process used in Pennsylvania and other states to extract gas and oil from shale deep underground.
The Center for Biological Diversity's campaign was started to target Gov. Jerry Brown of California, with billboards that read "Climate leaders don't frack" erected in the Golden State, which is atop the Monterey shale formation. The center had not returned emails asking if the protest at the Center for American Progress was sanctioned by the group.