Ten Thousand demonstrators surround White House to block the Keystone XL dirty oil pipeline

  • Published on November 6th, 2011

As many as ten thousand demonstrators gathered in Washington today, joining hands to encircle the White House in a human chain. They called on President Obama to live up to his campaign promises and NOT approve a pipeline to shunt some of the dirtiest oil in the world into America’s heartland.

NOXL demonstration to block keystone XL pipeline. Jon Walker For months, it had appeared that the Keystone XL pipeline was a done deal. But the pressure appears to be paying off, and just this week President Obama appeared to be backing off, saying he would do what’s best for the economy, but also what’s best for the health of the American people.

The pipeline is a $7 billion project that would carry oil derived from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada – some of the dirtiest oil there is – all the way across the heart of America down to gulf refineries in Texas. The threat has united an incredible range of opposition, from NASA scientist/climate activist James Hansen to the Republican-majority Nebraska State Legislature. (See: Why we should block the Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline – Sen. Bernie Sanders).

Dan Quigley, who had traveled all the way from  St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt. to join the protest, told USA today,  “It’s putting a lot of time and effort into something that’s pulling us into a wrong direction. If we are going to do anything this large scale it has to be something that’s proactive for helping the environment.”

The State Department is supposed to give its final recommendation by December 31, and prior to this week it looked like Obama might try to hide behind that State Department process to let approval slide through. But this week he “took ownership” of the process.

“Only a day ago the President’s press secretary said the State Department would make the call,” noted Bill McKibben, climate activist and founder of 350.org. “Now, it’s very good to see the President taking full ownership of this decision and indicating that the environment will be the top priority going forward.”

Obama was playing golf for most of today’s demonstration.

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More on tar sands and the fight to prevent the Keystone XL pipeline:

(Photo via Jon Walker

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.


  • this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Oil in Alberta is not dirty it will not hard people it will do actual good in the USA, something that you are in dier need of. Oil will always be apart of our world weather you like it or not. Dont risk thousands of jobs just for the “safety of the children”. This is an over reaction and a good example of people not knowing there facts and protesting for the sake of protesting.

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