Daryl Hannah Leads Celebrity Keystone XL Protest at White House Gates
Obama did not mention Keystone XL in the state of the union speech. But the pipeline has become one of the most contentious issues on his second-term agenda, a touchstone for environmental campaigners. To protesters, the project has become the defining symbol of Obama’s promises to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
“The Keystone pipeline project is the purest test of whether the president is serious about doing something about climate change or not,” the author Bill McKibben, whose 350.org group has led opposition to the project, told a few hundred protesters outside the White House.
Pipeline supporters - the Canadian government, the oil industry and a large swath of the country - argue that it will create jobs and shore up supplies of North American energy. Pipeline opponents say the project will unlock vast stores of carbon, overwhelming Obama’s other efforts to cut emissions that cause climate change.
“You can’t really parcel it out,” said Hannah. “You need to have a full-scale approach if you really want to be serious about addressing climate change.”
Over the past 18 months, the protests, initially dominated by students, have grown in size, gathering supporters from across the environmental movement. On Wednesday the Sierra Club, the biggest mass environmental group, broke a 120-year tradition and authorised its president, Michael Brune, to risk arrest.
I know, I know… jobs… money… economy… energy. Still… I don’t really relish the thought of an Exxon Valdez on the Missouri river in the middle of Montana.