- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2015

Environmentalists turned up the heat Monday on former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to “come clean” on issues like the Keystone XL pipeline and hydraulic fracturing in a protest outside her speech at a journalism awards ceremony.

Three climate-change groups — Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity and 350.org — brought 10 demonstrators and “Frostpaw the Polar Bear” to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where Mrs. Clinton was the keynote speaker for the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.

The protest, albeit small, comes as one of the first signs of public pressure directed at Mrs. Clinton from the green movement, a key component of the Democratic Party coalition. The three groups behind the rally are seen as younger, more aggressive and less likely to follow political protocol than more established environmental organizations.

Mrs. Clinton has remained somewhat cagey on energy issues, showing support for domestic natural gas production, which involves fracking, while remaining mum on the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama vetoed a bill to build the 1,179-mile pipeline last month.

As secretary of state, she pushed to expand the use of fracking to develop shale oil and natural gas in Europe and Asia as part of the Global Shale Gas Initiative. She also said she was “inclined” to sign off on the pipeline in 2010, according to Mother Jones.

“When she was Secretary of State, she made comments that she would approve the pipeline,” said Friends of the Earth climate and energy program director Ben Schreiber, who attended the rally. “She’s now avoiding the subject altogether.”

Activist also criticized the Clinton Foundation for accepting donations from a host of fossil-fuel companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil and Duke Energy.

Clinton has been laying the groundwork for a 2016 presidential campaign but has yet to take strong positions on climate policy or come out against the Keystone XL pipeline,” said the Center for Biological Diversity in a Monday statement.

“In light of a recent wave of media attention regarding the Clinton Foundation’s ties with the oil industry, important questions have been raised about Clinton’s qualifications as a climate leader,” said the statement.

Mrs. Clinton, who has not yet announced whether she will run but is considered the early frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, told the League of Conservation Voters in December that she was concerned about climate change as well as economic development.

“There is no getting around the fact that the kind of ambitious response to effectively combat climate change is going to be a tough sell at home and around the world at a time when so many counties … are grappling with slow growth and stretched budgets,” said Mrs. Clinton, according to CNN. “Our economy still runs primarily on fossil fuels and trying to change that will take strong leadership.”

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