Surround the White House: Protesters join hands against Keystone XL

The Occupy Wall Street movement spread from the streets of New York City, September 2011, sparking in towns and cities across the country. The fire of protest caught wind and raced through hundreds of cities across Europe, South America, Asia and Africa, culminating with the 15th of October demonstrations held in 82 countries. The cry from thousands of occupy protesters is simple, varied yet united. Each protester brings their personal grievances to the table but they all agree. Those elected to protect the interests and well being of the masses aren’t doing their jobs.  All too often those with economic and monetary muscle are able to swing the legislative tides in their favor.

In addition to the many issues of social inequality being protested by Occupiers around the world, are the issues of reckless public endangerment by large energy and oil companies. A key issue among these “Occupy Environmentalists” is the Keystone XL pipeline poised to run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Keystone XL pipeline, meant to transport oil from the Alberta tar sands to refineries in Texas, is a possible danger to air and water supplies in the states it passes through. Furthermore the process of refining oil harvested from the tar sands (bitumen) generates 2-4 times more greenhouse gasses per barrel, and 10-45% more greenhouse gasses with the combustion of the final product. The United States consumes 25% of the world’s oil and yet only processes 3% of the total conventional reserves. Advocates for Keystone XL claim that the pipeline is in the Nation’s interest and that it would provide energy security for the United States.

The environmental concerns over this pipeline have rallied protesters to surround the White House. Participants in Surround the White House, formed a circle around the White House on Sunday, November 6th in an attempt to dissuade the Obama administration from signing off on the construction of the proposed pipeline.   

Key environmentalist, Bill Mckibben, was the master of ceremonies for the rally, which took place in the hours between 1:30 and 5:30 pm.

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