Environmental protestors are taking a page from “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” activists and using the White House fence as a stage to make their voices heard against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Environmental protesters have been inundating the White House, staging sit-ins at the famous White House fence for over a week. They are determined to make the President stand up and honor his campaign promises that he would protect our environment and the people who look to his leadership. Actress Daryl Hannah lent her name — and handcuffed wrists — to the protest yesterday, as she and more than one hundred others decided an act of civil disobedience was necessary to get the attention of the President, and the People.
The Keystone Pipeline currently runs between Alberta, Canada and Oklahoma. With the proposed extension, Keystone XL, it would continue down to the Gulf Coast. The environmental group Tar Sands Action, which has organized a series of White House protests through September 3, says the pipeline “will pump 900,000 barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Texas.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released an environmental and safety analysis, The Final Environmental Impact Statement, which was used to determine whether the concerns being raised over this project had foundation. The analysis mentions the risks of spills and the possible impact on the surrounding land and water yet pointed to the ability to mitigate and handle those situations effectively. Overall the analysis seemed to dismiss everything these environmentalists have been bringing to the attention of the public. When it came to the concerns over greenhouse emissions, they pointed to far away countries like Venezuela to show that we should be secure in the pollution that will be caused by this project.
With little hope of anything politically standing in the way, the Keystone XL pipeline would be a conduit shipping heavy crude from Alberta’s oil sands reserves. Canada has been drawing from this reserve since the 1960’s and that has been used as a reason to allow this proposed pipeline. Even with environmentalists openly criticizing the pipeline however it seems it will receive a regulatory pass soon. If this happens there is a last stop that could be utilized, the President.
Since the pipeline is an international issue, the President is required to sign a permit that would allow this project to continue. This is where the activists are aiming their influence, as a demographic that came out in record numbers to vote for the man spreading hope.
Like many of the President’s supporters, the environmentalists in this country are feeling the sting of being left out in the cold. It was mentioned today that Jay Carney was asked aboard Air Force One about the President’s reaction to these protesters. “I haven’t talked to him about it.” said Carney. Yes, with over 400 protesters, celebrities and academics having been arrested you think that the President would have had concern over the people he is sworn to protect.
As we watch with interest and support in the coming week, the LGBT community can only stand and acknowledge that we too understand the position that these protesters are in. And members of the LGBT community, some in court this week, stood at the White House fence — often stood chained to the White House fence — to get Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repealed. There is hope that they too will feel some victory soon, otherwise it begs the question: How many more voters can the President toss aside?
(Image: Josh Lopez)
Growing up in Northern Ontario as a Jehovah’s Witness, Michael Talon experienced firsthand the struggle for equality. Now living in the U.S. with his partner, they work with advocates for federal equality, including immigration. Working side by side, Michael and his partner Brad, head of Luna Media Group, help to deliver messages for equality to the nation.
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