Thousands of protesters gathered at the White House over the weekend to object against plans to build a pipeline through the tar sands in Canada and North America. It follows a protest earlier this August, when 1,253 people were arrested during a sit-in.
The Keystone XL pipeline is TransCanada’s project to extract the oil from these tar sands, including a 1,700 mile line from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
President Obama is currently considering whether or not to grant permission for the controversial pipeline, which needs a special permit because it crosses an international border with Canada.
An advert for the protest which ran in the Washington Post last Friday shows an image of President Obama with his statement in 2007: “Let us be the generation that ends the tyranny of oil.” The ad then demands, “Mr President, say NO to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.”
The protest is organised by campaign group Tar Sands Action, which claims the pipeline could damage livelihoods and could be an environmental hazard if it contaminated drinking water.
TransCanada, the oil company which is planning the pipeline, has defended the environmental impact of Keystone XL project. Recently its president and CEO referred to a report by the US Department of State that “reaffirms the findings of the two previous environmental impact statements that the Keystone XL pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment.”