50,000 protest Keystone XL pipeline

Jacob Byk

Almost 50,000 converged on a frigid Sunday morning and marched around the White House to protest against the Keystone Pipeline, a trans-continental pipeline project starting in Canada and ending in Nebraska.

The Keystone XL pipeline is an oil pipeline being constructed by TransCanada that controversially uses tar sands (similar to hydraulic fracturing). The pipeline is already at a length of almost 2,000 miles and would connect oil refineries in Mexico and Texas to the Canadian market, making it an incredible investment, but frightful to environmentalists. Secretary of State John Kerry met with foreign minister John Baird in Canada Feb. 8, and Kerry promised a quick answer to the Keystone question.

President Obama faces a tough question. If Obama were not to pass the bill that would allow Keystone to begin going under the United States, then Canada would become less of a friendly northern ally. Canada is an important trade partner, not to mention its position against Iran’s nuclear program.

If Obama were to pass the bill and Keystone began digging the pipeline through the heartland of America, it would further fracture the United States’ environmentalists and their opinion of him. This pipeline would directly dig from Canada to Nebraska, potentially impacting the water supply of the states in question and the surrounding rural communities. It would also contribute to all the arguments made against hydraulic fracturing, since pipelining is a process used in the gas drilling process as well.

States as far and wide as New Jersey, South Dakota and Texas had residents who converged and walked the bone-chilling march around the White House, starting and ending at the Washington monument. People from all facets of environmental energy impact – from coal to gas to oil—joined in.

All that can be certain is that Obama can’t ignore the problem, since the company needs a “Presidential Permit” to cross into the country.

Contact Jacob Byk at [email protected].