(Editor's note: After this story was published, the communications director for the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming said that Chairman Ed Markey, D-Mass., could not attend the global warming rally because of a "scheduling conflict." See below.)
(CNSNews.com) – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had to cancel an appearance Monday at a global warming rally in Washington, D.C., that was hit by a snowstorm because her flight was delayed, her office told CNSNews.com.
Brianna Cayo-Cotter, the spokesman for the Energy Action Coalition that held the rally, told a group of reporters that she had been in contact with Pelosi and that her flight had been delayed because of inclement weather.
A blizzard Sunday night and early Monday morning blanketed the nation’s capital with snow, causing events to be cancelled and delayed across the city.
House Select Energy Independence and Global Warming Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who was scheduled to speak at the global warming event, also canceled his appearance because of the inclement weather, a spokesman from his committee’s office told CNSNews.com on Monday.
[Eben Burnham-Snyder, communications director for the committee, later contacted CNSNews.com to say that Markey could not attend the rally not because of the weather but because of a “scheduling conflict.”
[Burnham-Snyder would not say, however, where Markey was at the time the rally took place. “The problem is that I am in a tough position because I am never allowed to release his schedule but I can tell you that’s not true (that he missed the rally because of the weather) because he was already in the District," said Burnham-Snyder. “It wasn’t the same situation (as Speaker Pelosi) -- not that I am saying Speaker Pelosi’s excuse was not right – but it was not the same position as it was with the Speaker because she was flying. The chairman was already here.”
[“He just literally had something he could not avoid happening as the rally was happening,” said Burnham-Snyder.
[Burnham-Snyder repeated that he was not at liberty to say where Markey was, but, he said, Markey “was not in the Capitol complex at the time.”]
Speaker Pelosi’s office confirmed to CNSNews.com that her flight had been delayed, but they could not say where the flight was coming from or whether she was flying commercial or charter.
According to a press notification released by the Speaker’s office on Friday, both lawmakers were scheduled to appear on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol at 11:30AM Monday.
“In her remarks, the Speaker will discuss the progress made and the next steps to green the House of Representatives through the Green the Capitol initiative,” said the press release.
But at 9.35am on Monday the House Radio TV/Gallery e-mailed reporters noting that, “The Speaker will NOT be participating in the 2009 Power Shift Conference Rally this morning at 11:30am on the West Front.”
“It is unclear if the event is still going on,” said the release.
The event did occur, however, and despite the lawmakers' absence, about 500 protesters braved temperatures in the mid-20s and congregated on the Capitol lawn.
The rally was part of the Energy Action Coalition’s Power Shift 2009 Conference, which occurred in Washington, D.C., over the weekend.
On its website, under a section entitled "What We're For," the Energy Action Coalition says: "The partners of Energy Action and the youth who are building this movement have been at the forefront of the movement for bold, just and comprehensive action to stop global warming and create a just and sustainable energy future."
The site also includes a "Youth Climate Pledge" that says in part: "The climate crisis is the most urgent issue facing humanity today. Failure to fully and immediately confront it will condemn my generation to a transformed planet."
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