Watch above: Critics protest Keystone XL pipeline outside U.S. State Department
TORONTO – Protesters gathered in Washington, D.C. on Monday morning, chanting, “President Obama, stop the pipeline.”
More than 100 critics of TransCanada Corps’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline marched outside the U.S. State Department, with signs that included “Against the pipeline,” “Stop the Keystone,” and “Climate change is a moral issue.”
Organizers included environmental groups Credo, the Rainforest Action Network, and economic justice group The Other 98%.
“The State Department just got caught in bed with big oil in their environmental assessment,” Founder of The Other 98% John Sellers told Bloomberg.com.
The department is conducting an environmental review of the pipeline, which would stretch from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast, and will issue a national security determination before it’s built—though U.S. President Barack Obama has the final say.
The protest comes almost two weeks after Obama told the New York Times that Keystone XL “might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline – which might take a year or two…And then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in a economy of 150 million working people.”
His comments were in direct opposition to the U.S. State Department’s draft report earlier this year, which found that the pipeline would support 42,100 jobs during the one- to two-year construction period, with total wages of about $2 billion, although only 35 permanent and temporary jobs will remain once Keystone XL is fully operational.
The draft report also suggested Keystone’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions would be minimal.
Obama told the Times that he was open to ways to ease concerns about any environmental risks and has said before he will only approve the project if it doesn’t increase carbon pollution.
Obama had rejected the $7.6-billion project last year, but invited TransCanada to file a new application with a different route that would address environmental concerns in the state of Nebraska.
With files from The Canadian Press
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