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.
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.”
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.