Obama Gets Annoyed When Environmentalists Heckle Him During A Global Warming Speech

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

President Barack Obama went to Lake Tahoe expecting a receptive audience for his speech on global warming, but as he was about to talk man-made warming, he was interrupted by environmentalists holding an anti-fossil fuel sign.

The Rainforest Action Network activists were holding a red and white banner “Nevada says Keep it in the Ground” imploring the president to keep companies from mining coal or drilling for oil and gas on federal lands. It’s a new campaign for environmentalists.

Obama, however, just seemed kind of annoyed. Here’s the official Wednesday transcript:

And that’s why we’re here: To protect this pristine place.  To keep these waters crystal clear.  To keep the air as pure as the heavens.  To keep alive Tahoe’s spirit.  And to keep faith with this truth — that the challenges of conservation and combatting climate change are connected, they’re linked.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.  I’m sorry, I —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  I gotcha, okay.  I gotcha.  Thank you, that’s a great banner.  I’m about to talk about it though, so you’re interrupting me.

Now, I was going talk about climate change and why it’s so important,

Obama was speaking at the annual environmental summit in Lake Tahoe, which is on the California-Nevada border, to talk about what has administration has done for conservations and to fight global warming.

Obama said his administration has done more to fight global warming than any other in history, including putting a moratorium on new coal mining leases on federal lands. The administration won’t approve any new coal mines until they’ve figured out how much more companies should pay in mineral royalties.

“Although the focus of this report is on ensuring a fair return to the taxpayer, there is strong economic evidence of large external costs from coal production, transportation, and consumption,” the White house reported in June.

“For example, incorporating the social cost of carbon in coal royalties would imply a royalty rate greater than 100 percent, implying that an increase in royalty rates could improve economic efficiency both due to fair return to the taxpayer and environmental externality considerations,” officials wrote.

But a temporary ban on mining also costs taxpayers, according to an independent analysis.

Obama could have generated nearly $88 billion of economic activity from opening more federally-controlled lands to coal mining, according to a recent study by the free market Institute for Energy Research.

The Institute’s experts estimate these two states are home to 86 billion short tons of recoverable coal reserves.

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