Thousands Expected At White House To Demonstrate Against Keystone XL Pipeline Today

It's almost unthinkable that something with such a huge environmental impact will be approved, but the tars sands pipeline certainly looks likely to get the go-ahead from President Obama [via McClatchy]:

WASHINGTON — Thousands of people are expected to mass at the White House on Sunday to send an environmental message to President Barack Obama: Say no to a proposed pipeline that would import highly polluting oil from Canada.

It's likely to be the biggest environmental protest in Washington in a long time. Protests organizers, speaking at a press conference Friday, said the event is meant to show the president that they're passionate about cleaner energy and want Obama to take their side in the controversy over the pipeline and the source of the heavy crude oil, the tar sands of Alberta, Canada.

"We really, really believe in him," Maura Cowley, a leader of the Energy Action Coalition, a youth environmental movement, said of Obama. "But we're watching this very carefully because it's a symbol of President Obama's commitment to clean energy."

[...] Opponents want the president to stop the pipeline because of the risks of spills and of impact on global warming from tapping Canada's vast oil sands. The thick crude from the oil sands produces more heat-trapping carbon-dioxide emissions than regular oil because of the extra energy required in extracting and processing it.

The extra emissions from burning the oil would be the equivalent of the pollutants from 5 million cars or seven coal-fired power plants, according to the Sierra Club.

In addition, the pipeline would cross many rivers, including the Yellowstone in Montana, and the Ogallala aquifer and the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills in Nebraska. The Nebraska legislature is in a special session focused on concerns about the pipeline's route through that state.


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