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Hundreds Arrested (Including Me) in DC: The Protest Against the Keystone XL Pipeline and Why the Uproar

Ending only September the 3rd, a group is planned to protest every day for two weeks, and more than 2100 people have signed up. Already, an estimated 222 people have been arrested, 65 on Saturday, 45 on Sunday, 52 on Monday and 60 on Tuesday, including Canadian actors Margot Kidder (best known as Lois Lane in four of the original Superman movies) and Tantoo Cardinal (indigenous actor best known for her roles in Legends of the Fall, Dances with Wolves, and Smoke Signals).

Arrestees whose ID stated they resided in DC were released after paying a $100 fine while 55 other participants from last Saturday’s demonstration were kept in jail for two nights before having all charges dropped and being released. On Tuesday afternoon, they were greeted with food and drink outside the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Moultrie Courthouse by a group of supporters.

–>> You may also like: Help Stop Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline {TAKE ACTION}

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday’s protestors were released after being arrested, taken to a Park Police station, and paying $100 fine for “disobeying a police order” (also known as “failure to obey lawful order”).

Supporters cheering on the release of Activists on Tuesday afternoon.

To participate, you are required to attend a training session from 5:00 to 9:00 at one of two local churches in DC which kindly volunteered their facilities. More information is provided on the action’s website, TarSandsAction.org.

Why We (+ Obama) Need to Block the Tar Sands Pipeline

Being one of those 45 arrested on Sunday, the 21st, I would like to stress the importance of the President blocking this pipeline. Already being extracted and refined in Canada, the tar sands are known as not only the largest remaining deposits of oil, but the dirtiest in the world.

At least 90% of the fresh water used in the oil sands ends up in tailing ponds so toxic that propane cannons are used to keep ducks from landing. These toxic tailing ponds are considered one of the largest human-made structures in the world; they span 50 square kilometers and can be seen from space. Processing the oil sands uses enough natural gas in a day to heat 3 million homes. Producing a barrel of oil from the oil sands produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions than a barrel of conventional oil.

–>>You may also like: Bill McKibben & ~70 Others Arrested

TransCanada hopes to begin building a new oil pipeline that would trek close to 2,000 miles from Alberta, Canada to Texas. If constructed, the pipeline, known as the Keystone XL, would carry 900,000 barrels of tar sands oil in to the US daily and, in turn, double our country’s reliance on oil, resulting in climate-damaging emissions equal to adding more than six million new cars to U.S. roads. Along its route from Alberta to Texas, this pipeline could devastate ecosystems and pollute water sources, and would jeopardize public health.

Communities living downstream from tailing ponds have seen spikes in rates of rare cancers, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism. In the lakeside village of Fort Chipewyan, for example, 100 of the town’s 1,200 residents have died from cancer. Problems are only getting worse as extraction and refining of this dirty oil continues. Unfortunately, an area the size of Florida is already set for extraction. Already, Canadian pipeline companies operate 1,900 miles of oil pipelines in and around the Great Lakes watershed, which supplies 25 million people with drinking water.

Many people are supporting the extension of the pipeline stating that it will create jobs. TransCanada’s proposed number of jobs that would be created has varied greatly, but Keystone XL proponents main contention at the end of the day, whether it’s 3,500 jobs or 118,000 jobs, is that the pipeline would create jobs. But it’s not that simple.  If we do not protect our natural resources, there will be no future jobs. And we can put Americans to work now by creating jobs that heal our land. Policies in that direction would actually create more jobs per dollar spent.

Obama’s decision would not only affect the six U.S. states and major rivers that the pipeline would traverse, including the Missouri River, Yellowstone, and Red Rivers, as well as key sources of drinking and agricultural water, such as the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies two million Americans. But it would also affect the whole world, with Obama’s OK, pollution could double, and don’t for a second think that this will somehow only affect the United States.

Environmentalists are heartbroken over this horrendous act of greed. President Obama is the single person who has the power to say ‘yay’ or ‘neigh’ and our hope is that he will listen to the American people and not enable the destruction that this pipeline would bring.




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