One-time presidential aspirant and now Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT) Pete Buttigieg was briefly chased out of an event by climate change activists protesting several fossil fuel projects being reviewed by the DOT.
More than a dozen members of the group that calls itself “Climate Defiance” stormed the stage Buttigieg was speaking on, chanting slogans and waving banners. “Pete: Don’t be a climate coward,” read one message. Protesters, who repeatedly shouted things like, “End fossil fuels, Pete!” and “Stop Petro Pete!”, were protesting the Sea Port Oil Terminal and Texas GulfLink, both of which are under review by the DOT’s Maritime Administration.
Buttigieg attempted to address some of the issues raised by the protesters, who loudly chanted slogans whenever he attempted to answer. The DOT secretary eventually remarked, “It’s really hard to answer the question if you interrupt the answer,” which elicited cheers from the rest of the audience. He also declined to go into detail regarding the Seaport Oil Terminal project, pointing out that the project is already the subject of a lawsuit.
The transportation secretary had to leave the event briefly, after security at the event asked the audience to leave after personnel failed to prevent the protesters from disrupting Buttigieg’s talk. Protesters were asked multiple times to leave. The event resumed a few minutes later, with the crowd greeting Buttigieg’s return to the stage with a standing ovation.
The transportation secretary acknowledged the frustration the protesters must feel, saying that he understands “where they’re coming from.”
“I get the urgency. By the time my kids are old enough to ask, we’re going to have a really good answer to get out of climate change,” he added.
But Buttigieg also asked protesters to consider the difficulties and hurdles environmentalists like him face in government.
“But my hope also is that some of those folks who are just here saw what happened when I was in front of the Transportation Infrastructure Committee two weeks ago trying to persuade or help the members of Congress [understand] that the seasons changing is not the same thing as climate change. And if this literally came up, and so we’ve got literal climate deniers… who can’t be bothered to admit that climate change is real,” Buttigieg said.
“We just chased Secretary Pete Buttigieg off the stage at the Meyerhoff Symphony. Petro Pete is a coward. As we write he is ramming down our throats the Sea Port and GulfLink oil terminals – each worse than Keystone. We must resist him with all we’ve got. And we will,” the group said in a statement it released online after the incident.
Buttigieg was speaking at iMPACT Maryland, an event organized by a local publication, The Baltimore Banner. The whole-day event was supposed to discuss developments, initiatives, and projects that would benefit the future of the state.
Tim Ramos has written for various publications, corporations, and organizations – covering everything from finance, politics, travel, entertainment, and sports – in Asia and the U.S. for more than 10 years.