Thousands Protest At White House Over Pipeline

131642812 Thousands Protest At White House Over Pipeline

Demonstrators listen to speakers in Lafayette Park across from the White House in Washington, DC November 6, 2011. Thousands of people are descending on the White House to join hands with one another and stand up to the Keystone XL pipeline. (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of protesters gathered in Lafayette Square across from the White House on Sunday to oppose a plan for a transnational oil pipeline they fear could harm the environment.

At one point, the crowd linked hands to surround the White House, keeping up pressure on President Barack Obama as his administration decides whether to approve the massive Keystone XL project.

Demonstrators chanted “yes we can, stop the pipeline,” while other protesters carried a plastic tube simulating the pipeline that would run 1,700 miles through six states. The protest drew support from actor Mark Ruffalo, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner John Adams and NASA scientist James Hansen, each of whom spoke to the crowd.

The proposed pipeline by developer TransCanada would carry oil derived from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas. Opponents say it would bring “dirty oil” that requires huge amounts of energy to extract and could cause an ecological disaster in case of a spill. They are calling on Obama to block the $7 billion project, which is currently being reviewed by the State Department.

Obama missed most of the protest while he played golf at Fort Belvoir in Virginia during the afternoon.

Dan Quigley, a freshman at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, traveled by bus with about 40 students to attend the protest. The 19-year-old said the pipeline could have an adverse effect on greenhouse gases and pose a hazard to water supplies.

“It’s putting a lot of time and effort into something that’s pulling us into a wrong direction,” he said. “If we are going to do anything this large scale it has to be something that’s proactive for helping the environment.”

TransCanada spokesman James Millar said the pipeline would help reduce American dependence on oil from the Middle East and Venezuela while creating thousands of new construction and manufacturing jobs.

“Killing Keystone just leads to more of the same — hundreds of oil tankers shipping millions of barrels of higher priced oil across our oceans to American shores,” Millar said in a statement.

Bill McKibben, founder of the climate safety grassroots movement, said demonstrators hoped Obama would live up to the image that helped him win election in 2008.

“He’s completely capable of doing the right thing,” McKibben said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • joel brown

    This is why obama will be a one term president. that all you colledge students and wanna be hippies.

  • Guy

    Do these people want to live like cavemen? For us to live and advance our community/society/economy, we need fuel that we can afford!

  • not the sharpest knufe

    What a bunch of idiots. I suppose they all walkied to Washington D.C. Hopefully no one rode a methane producing horse.

    • Catherine Bernier

      Well, this idiot drove from Delaware to DC today. I pay the high prices of fuel in hopes that green energy alternatives will be allowed and promoted to the general public while we have to. However, comments such as yours and the ones above are the reasons there are high prices on seafood, wetland habitats in the gulf are forever altered and our oceans were not safe to swim in over the summer no matter what the mass media says. Scientists have and will prove every time how wrong your way of thinking is. SOMETHING has to give and it shouldn’t be us giving up our children’s future for more of the same fossil fuel dependencies. Have a nice day.

  • David Stover

    If the EPA would let North Dakota build a refinery we wouldn’t have to lay the pipeline.

  • Mark

    Green is the new RED.

  • Rick McDaniel

    Exactly……..what is wrong with building a suitable refinery in North Dakota? The oil industry is already in the state, the pipeline runs through ND anyway, and then the environment would not be endangered with oil spills through the entire center of the country.

    Yeah……I know…..that makes too much sense to happen.

  • SavageTX1

    Well, oil happens to come from nature so why not use it? Can you tell me of another source that can produce the amount of energy for the price? That’s actually on the market. They are called fossil fuels because they usually are formed from the remains of dead animals and other organisms over time. The solution or technology to replace it could be more dangerous or hazordous to the environment than oil. Look at the light bulbs. Did you know those spiral light bulbs had mercury in them and if one breaks in your house you have to remove all pets, children from the house, and requires special cleanup procedures. Read the regulations involved in one of those spiral light bulbs on the containers.

    I agree with David above. Good point. There’s your soluton to the probelm but the environmentalist won’t let N Dakota build a refinery. Why make it easier and cheaper to produce. That would mean progress, growth, jobs, etc …

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