American Indian and Canadian Native leaders have been arrested outside the White House while protesting against a 1,700 mile pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Hundreds of protestors travelled to Washington DC to try to persuade President Barack Obama not to issue a permit for the new $13billion pipe planned by TransCanada because of environment and health worries.
Tom Goldtooth, of the Indigenous Environmental Network, which organised the protest, said that President Obama had the perfect opportunity to say no to the Keystone XL pipeline. Others, such as grassroots leader Deb White Plume, worried about “potential contamination of the surface water and of the Ogallala aquifer,” while Gitz Deranger, from Fort Chipewyan in Alberta, claimed the pipeline could result in “increased cancer deaths”.
TransCanada has defended its pipeline’s environmental standards. Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer said at the end of August that a report by the US Department of State: “reaffirms the findings of the two previous environmental impact statements that the Keystone XL pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment.”
If construction of the pipeline begins in early 2012, Keystone XL is expected be operational in 2013.