Sunday, November 6, 2011

Protesters circle White House in oil pipeline row


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of protesters opposed to a new oil pipeline from Canada to the United States circled the White House grounds on Sunday to press President Barack Obama to reject the project for environmental reasons.

Opponents to TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude produced from oil sands, have dogged the president for months, arguing that the carbon emissions produced in the process of extracting oil from the sands would exacerbate climate change.

On Sunday thousands of men and women, many of them wearing orange vests with "Stop the pipeline" printed on them, lined up around the White House grounds, which include the presidential mansion, the Treasury department and a sprawling executive office building.

Carrying signs that matched Obama's campaign colors of blue and red, some protesters chanted "Hey Obama, we don't want no climate drama" and "Stop the pipeline, yes we can," copying phrases connected to Obama's successful 2008 election effort.

The pipeline controversy threatens to loom over the 2012 presidential race. Obama faces political pitfalls whether his administration approves or rejects the project.

A decision in favor would support Obama's goal of creating jobs and diversifying energy sources, but it would alienate core Democratic supporters who are already disappointed by his progress in fighting climate change.

"We have to leave the tar sands oil in the ground. That's the only solution if we're going to save the planet," said Martin Springhetti, 63, a Democrat and retired teacher from Pennsylvania, who said his active support for Obama next year would depend on the pipeline decision.

"I certainly won't work for him, but I won't vote for him if he doesn't ... say no to the pipeline," said actress Margot Kidder, 63, who campaigned for Obama in 2008 in Montana and was arrested at a similar pipeline protest earlier this year. Read More...

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