Activists arrested at WH over climate change protest
February 13th, 2013
03:21 PM ET
10 months ago

Activists arrested at WH over climate change protest

Washington (CNN) - Dozens of environmental activists - including Bobby Kennedy Jr. and actress Daryl Hannah - cuffed themselves to a White House gate on Wednesday in a climate change protest that ultimately resulted in their arrests.

Chanting, "President Obama, we don't want no climate drama!" activists demanded concrete government action on the issue. Their first hope: the Obama administration's rejection of the controversial Keystone Pipeline XL.

"We're out here saying, 'President Obama, you must reject the Keystone Pipeline," Hannah told a reporter. "This is a lethal project that is the largest fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet."

This is not the first time Hannah has been arrested in front of the White House protesting the pipeline. She took part in a similar protest in August of 2012.

Calling it a "monumental boondoggle" for profit-rich oil companies, Kennedy said, "It is going to poison the air, it's going to sicken, it's going to injure and it's going to kill millions of people over time."

A final decision over expanding the pipeline could come this spring, according to the State Department. That agency is reviewing the pipeline since it would cross international boundaries.

The 1,700-mile conduit would export between 500,000 to 700,000 barrels of crude oil from tar sands from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The first stage of the project, approved in 2008 and started in 2010, transported export oil from Canada to America's midwest. Just over a year ago, the Obama administration rejected the project's expansion – from Canada to the Gulf Coast - citing the need for more time to review it. The administration pushed off final decision until after the presidential election.

The pipeline's builder has urged final approval.

"TransCanada continues to believe in the value of Keystone XL due to the overwhelming support the project has received from American and Canadian producers and U.S. refiners who signed 17 to 18 year contracts to ship over hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day to meet the needs of American consumers," the company wrote in a statement on its website. "TransCanada anticipates approval of the presidential Permit application...in the first quarter of 2013."

Supporters maintain the pipeline will be safe. They also assert it will help the U.S. become more energy independent and will create thousands of jobs.

In January, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved a rerouting of the pipeline in the state, saying it would have "minimal environmental impact."

Yet opponents fear the worst.

Environmental activists fear the pipeline could break or leak, threatening water supplies and the environment, and could contribute to greenhouse gases.

"I don't think President Obama is going to permit this pipeline to happen," Kennedy said. "I think President Obama has a strong moral core, he is not going to do something that is immoral, that is reckless and that is going to impose the costs of our joyride for these wealthy oil companies…on future generations of Americans and citizens all across the planet."

"I do not believe he will do that and I do not believe that [Secretary of State] John Kerry will do it," Kennedy added.

The Sierra Club, 350.org and their supporters attended the Wednesday protest at the White House. Those groups will also sponsor a Sunday rally in Washington over climate change.


Filed under: Environmental policy • White House
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    "TransCanada continues to believe in the value of Keystone XL due to the overwhelming support the project has received from American and Canadian producers and U.S. refiners who signed 17 to 18 year contracts to ship over hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day to meet the needs of American consumers," the company wrote in a statement on its website.
    -----------------------–
    What a long winded obfuscation of the facts. First of all, the "17 to 18 year contracts" are being met. More importantly, if the product is for the US market, then why is it being shipped to the Gulf? Furthermore, why is there a new port planned for the Gulf that accomodates the new generation of oil supertankers, if the product is for the US market?

    Environmetal issues aside, the Keystone XL will do one thing and one thing only. It will greatly decrease the current downward pressure on the price of the product, which are due in large part associated with the high transportation costs to bring the product to market. The new generation of oil supertankers do not fit in the Panama Canal. To reach the west coast of Canada from the Atlantic Ocean, they must go all the way around the southern tip of South America...and back again.

    This is one of the main reasons why US gas prices are so much lower than those in Europe. We buy the unrefined oil at a deep discount. Construction of the pipeline will remove the pressure to discount the product. TRANSLATION: US gas prices will at least double.

    February 13, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Fine. Let them walk everywhere.

    February 13, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. Jbar

    2 words – carbon tax

    February 13, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. Rob

    The sun's present solar cycle is about to end and beginning this year the earth is NATURALLY going to gradually begin coolling. Of course then all these fanatics are going to claim victory when it is actually natural processes. Can't win.

    February 13, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. howzzat

    What is more hilarious than a bunch of fruitcakes chaining themselves to a White House gate? NOTHING!!!!!!!!

    February 13, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. amf140

    With only a few dozen protesters, 2 get arrested. Glen Beck had over 200,00 Tea Partyers in DC at the Lincoln Memorial with no arrests, no property damage and no garbage --– and they get labeled as radicals. WHAT IS THAT??????

    February 13, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. a little sad

    Not sure I sympathize with these guys, but I have to say. Hannah is STILL gorgeous and I am still jealous as heck of her. :-)

    February 13, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. cbr

    Protests and more protests. Do they really work? Do those who are arrested get their bail paid by protest group?
    Maybe we need to give our elected officials an opportunity to explain their positions before we begin to protest.

    February 13, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Rob wrote:

    The sun's present solar cycle is about to end and beginning this year the earth is NATURALLY going to gradually begin coolling. Of course then all these fanatics are going to claim victory when it is actually natural processes. Can't win.
    ---------------
    You do realize that theories about 10,000 year cycles between global ice ages totally contradicts the Flat Earth Society's theory that planet is only 6000 years old?

    February 13, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. James Bond

    rm, your comment confirms you have done zero research, yes rudy is correct, the promise ofcheap gas is what they are using as bait. if oil companies were interested in making oil more affordable, why are our young men and women dying while claering the way for oil speculators, who paycheck is directly related to higher oil prices

    February 13, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Bill from GA

    The pipeline will likely be built, soon or later.

    How about a transit tax on all oil passing through this country? It would be tricky getting it written where oil company lawyers didn't work around it. Or slip in a clause in some bill to avoid it. But our country always seems to get the raw deal in these matters. They get the goldmine, we get the shaft.

    And I know; repubs will cry because I mentioned 'tax'.

    February 13, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "What is more hilarious than a bunch of fruitcakes chaining themselves to a White House gate?"

    A bunch of frutcakes chaining themselves to an agenda and ideology easily perceived as racits, bigotted, seixst, broken, disproven, plutocratic, pathological reality-denial.

    Next question.

    February 13, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. mememine69

    Dozens of climate blame protesters and MILLIONS in the global scientific community..............................

    The Reefer Madness of the Climate Change War is to Obama what the Iraq War was to Bush, but at least Bush didn't issue CO2 death threats from an exaggerated climate crisis to my kids and billions of others.
    *Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the corporate based and bank-funded carbon trading stock markets.
    Meanwhile, the entire world of SCIENCE had condemned our kids to the greenhouse gas ovens of an exaggerated "crisis" and had allowed bank-funded and corporate-run “CARBON TRADING STOCK MARKETS” to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over 27 years of insane attempts at climate CONTROL. This Climate Blame War is to Obama what the Iraq War was to Bush, but at least Bush didn't issue CO2 death threats of a climate crisis to my kids.
    How many climate blame believers does it take to change a light bulb?
    None, but they DO have full consensus that it ’WILL’ change, maybe.
    Not one single IPCC warning wasn't qualified with a ’maybe’ or a ’could be’ or a ’likely’ so science has never said any crisis ’WILL’ happen, only might happen. If “might” is good enough for you to threaten your own kids with an exaggerated and nonexistent climate crisis………………..

    February 13, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Rick in OP

    These people have no clue of the earth's historical climate cycles. The funny part is that we may well be entering a climatic cold cycle.

    February 13, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Tex

    "What a long winded obfuscation of the facts. First of all, the "17 to 18 year contracts" are being met. More importantly, if the product is for the US market, then why is it being shipped to the Gulf?"

    Because that is where the refineries are located.

    February 13, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |