Protesting the Pipeline

by Nancy Hernandez

Staff Reporter

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

 Next weekend, hundreds of students and young people alike will converge in Washington, D.C. to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline, a proposed project that would expand the already existing Keystone Pipeline. Among those in the crowd will be a small group of Pitzer freshmen eager to take a stand for the future of their environment.

Dubbed “XL Dissent”, this demonstrative action intends to pressure President Obama to reject the plan, as many students are intent on risking arrest and civil disobedience to get the message across to the Executive Branch.

Extending 1,179 miles, with a 36-inch diameter, the proposed XL pipeline would transport crude, tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada all the way to Steele City, Nebraska. Because it is a cross-border pipeline, this project requires a Presidential Permit, which President Obama has yet to approve.

Those in favor of the pipeline extension say its construction and development would provide a multitude of jobs and annual tax revenue, in addition to reducing the amount of oil the US imports from foreign regions like Venezuela and the Middle East.

However, environmentalists oppose the pipeline, for reasons including increased energy-intensive extraction and refining processes because of the tar sands, increased emissions of greenhouse gases, likelihood of leakage and water contamination, and wildlife and habitat destruction.

In addition, opponents argue the pipeline would not reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, as the oil would be sold globally to the highest bidder, actually increasing domestic gas prices.

President Obama has stated that he will not pass anything that would “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”

Even during his State of the Union Address, Obama stated, “Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”

Students want him to be held accountable for claims he has made, as Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline will have a widespread effect, especially on the future of young students. This realization, along with the desires for alternative energy sources, and reduced environmental impacts are the driving forces for the XL Dissent protest in Washington D.C.


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