Hundreds of Keystone XL pipeline opponents arrested at White House


Environmentalists pretend to be dead on a black sheet symbolizing an oil spill as they rally in front of the White House and call on President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline, in Washington, March 2, 2014. Up to 1,000 protesters demonstrated against Keystone, which would carry 800,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf, on Sunday outside Secretary of State John Kerry’s house in Washington before risking arrest at the White House. The State Department acted properly in its choice of an outside contractor to review Keystone, a U.S. report said on Wednesday. Environmentalists said the report showed the approval process was irresponsible and vowed to keep fighting Keystone. REUTERS/Mike Theiler (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS ENERGY CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

More than 500 protesters chanting, “Hey, Obama! We don’t want no pipeline drama,” marched to the White House Sunday, demanding that President Obama stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline extension that would daily carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
About 200 protesters, who marched from Georgetown University, through the streets of D.C., stopping in front of the house of Secretary of State John Kerry to drop “a fake oil spill,” were arrested after they used plastic zip ties to lock themselves to the White House fence.
“We are here to tell President Obama to stop a pipeline that he has the control to stop,” said Justin Filtz, 26, who traveled from Stevens Point, Wisc. “The XL pipeline is like a line in the sand if we are going to stop climate change.”
The segment of the Keystone XL pipeline that would run from Canada to Oklahoma would require a presidential permit.

Hundreds of protesters gather in Lafayette Park to demonstrate against Keystone XL pipeline that would carry more than 800,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen from Canada to the Gulf Coast. (DeNeen L. Brown/Washington Post)
Hundreds of protesters gather in Lafayette Park to demonstrate against Keystone XL pipeline that would carry more than 800,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen from Canada to the Gulf Coast. (DeNeen L. Brown/Washington Post)

Environmentalists oppose the pipeline, arguing that the project would impact climate change and increase the time it takes for the country to move to cleaner energy sources.

“The people are rising; no more compromising,” protesters chanted, while raising signs that said. #NOKXL.

Protesters say that they are concerned that an “inevitable” environmental disaster would be created by spills of the heavy toxic tar sands bitumen.

 “People need to be aware of the fact that fossil fuels at this point are obsolete,” said Nicholas Umpleby, 22, a student at the University of Vermont. “There is no valid reason why we should continue building any type of infrastructure that supports fossil fuels. We have the technology to establish infrastructure for clean energy—wind, solar, tidal and wave energy. Fossil fuels only pollute the environment. There are no positives associated with fossil fuels.”


WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 02: Alex Smiley, left, wipes a tear as she and Katy Hellman, right, protest as they are tied to the gate outside the White House as they and others demonstrate against the Keystone XL pipeline on Sunday March 02, 2014 in Washington, DC. Protesters marched from Georgetown University to the White House. Scores of people were arrested outside the White House following the march. (Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post)

 

Last month, The Washington Post reported that Kerry said that the State Department is still working on its revised Environmental Impact Statement. “We are currently engaged in the Environmental Impact Statement analysis,” said Kerry before meeting with Canada’s foreign minister John Baird. “An analysis will be made with respect to the national interests ultimately, and we’re just not at that point yet. I haven’t received it. They haven’t finished it.”

Lelani Woods, a spokesperson for U.S. Park Police, said the final count on the number of protesters arrested was 372.


WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 02: A protester is arrested outside the White House as they and others demonstrate against the Keystone XL pipeline on Sunday March 02, 2014 in Washington, DC. Protesters marched from Georgetown University to the White House. Scores of people were arrested outside the White House following the march. (Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post)

 

DeNeen L. Brown is an award-winning staff writer at The Washington Post who has covered night police, education, courts, politics and culture.
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