The Restore Our Coast: Repower Louisiana town hall forum (Wednesday, April 15, at Loyola University) presented that rare opportunity for environmentalists, scientists and the public to face possible political allies. A meeting of the minds, green and political -- in this case, Councilwoman Shelley Midura and Sen. J.P. Morrell. Oh, and Congressman Anh "Joseph" Cao.
After giving an opening statement and answering one question on whether or not he supported the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, for which congressional hearings will begin next Tuesday, he stated that he had another meeting to attend and rose from his seat.
I am concerned about global warming and I believe that it is an issue that needs to be addressed. ... I cant vote [on] the bill without knowing specific details what position that Im going to have. But again, I am ... open and I hope the country - that we will reach our goal of being energy independent and to basically have an economy that will encompass the green jobs that we basically want, said Cao, right before he said that he must leave to go to another appointment.
Cao's office would not disclose where he went following the forum.
Christian Roselund with the Alliance for Affordable Energy says the panelists as well as the Alliance and event planners "were a bit surprised."
Jonathan Henderson, 1Sky Organizer for the Gulf Restoration Network, says Cao staffers informed him Cao "wasn't going to stay the whole time" just before the forum began, but Henderson anticipated Cao staying longer than he did and was disappointed he left early.
"We had a lot of important questions (the forum) wasn't able to ask," he says. "It would have been nice to hear what he had to say."
Henderson says the organizations are looking forward to hopefully working with Cao in the future, as a key piece of environmental legislation (the American Clean Energy and Security Act) is set to hit the congressional floor next week.
"And we need his support," Henderson says.