Dozens of young Keystone protesters arrested at White House

WASHINGTON Sun Mar 2, 2014 3:41pm EST

1 of 5. An environmental activist sings and cheers as she and others are detained as they hold a rally in opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline on the sidewalk in front of the White House at the White House in Washington March 2, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Police arrested dozens of young people protesting the Keystone XL project on Sunday, as demonstrators fastened themselves with plastic ties to the White House fences and called for U.S. President Barack Obama to reject the controversial oil pipeline.

Participants, who mostly appeared to be college-aged, held signs reading "There is no planet B" and "Columbia says no to fossil fuels," referring to the university in New York.

Another group, several of whom were clad in white jumpsuits splattered with black ink that was meant to represent oil, lay down on a black tarp spread out on Pennsylvania Avenue to stage a mock spill.

Organizers estimated 1,000 people protested and said several hundred agreed to risk arrest by refusing to leave the sidewalk in front of the White House.

"If the Democratic Party wants to keep our vote, they better make sure President Obama rejects that pipeline," said Nick Stracco, a 23-year-old student at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Canadian energy firm TransCanada Corp is behind the proposed pipeline that would carry crude from Alberta's oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Supporters say it would create thousands of jobs.

The project already weathered a State Department environmental review, which was required because the project would cross international borders. Several other agencies also are doing reviews, and Obama has final say.

Environmental groups, who fear oil spills along the pipeline and say it could hasten climate change, have staged a number of protests at the White House over Keystone.

Sunday's event, which was planned by students with support from environmental groups and the Energy Action Coalition, began with a rally at Georgetown University, where Obama unveiled a new climate change plan last summer.

The group marched to the White House, where police began arresting protesters, pulling them aside in small groups into tents set up on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Organizers said they intended to remind the White House that young people are a key voting demographic of the president's party and their peers do not want to inherit environmental damage caused by current leaders.

"Our future is on the line. The climate is on the line," said Aly Johnson-Kurts, 20, who is taking a year off from Smith College in Massachusetts. She said she had decided to get arrested on Sunday. "When do we say we've had enough?"

(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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Comments (12)
moweddell wrote:
How did American businesses get to the point where politics is required to create and operate a business? America’s business is business! Now a corporation must have a staff of lawyers and lobbiests to operate a business in the American economy. Further, its taxed higher than the majority of foreign countries to pay for government provided redistribution of wealth. No wonder our businesses are moving overseas!!! Its time to consider and re-establish a favorable business atmosphere. Lets get back to the consumer oriented free market enterprise system. This includes the energy industry, including oil and gas, etc…

Mar 02, 2014 4:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
WhyMeLord wrote:
We should no more let the TransCanada Corp. terrorists destroy our country than we let terrorists destroy the NYC Trade Center bldgs.
We have become the greediest nation on this planet, and locking-up some college kids for trying to protect our country is un-American.
The meek shall inherit the earth, with just a little help from us.
Beware robber-barons and the monied-gentry, Karma is here to stay.

Mar 02, 2014 4:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
WhyMeLord wrote:
Having a ‘free-market’ system doesn’t give foreign terrorists the right to use our country as a “pathway to riches”. TransCanada has no vested interest in being environmentally friendly as it ships its toxic sludge across America. We have enough trouble keeping the loonies in the Dakotas under control let alone the Canadian variety.
You and your ‘free-market’ polluters can wallow in their own slime.

Mar 02, 2014 4:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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