Chanting refrains of “Kid safe energy, climate safe energy, Keystone fails the test,” about 80 people gathered in downtown Oakland Monday to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would ferry tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Their protests followed release Friday of a federal report on the environmental impact of Keystone that surprised environmentalists by stating the pipeline by itself would not necessarily increase carbon emissions because the oil might still be extracted and shipped by other means. Many people have been concerned that plans to extract oil from the tar sands fields of Canada would be particularly harmful to the environment because tar sands oil is dirtier than conventional sources of oil and extracting it as well as ferrying it would increase carbon emissions in North America.
“President Obama for our kids, stop the pipeline, yes you can,” the protesters chanted. Many of them were parents carrying young children. The event was organized by a group called Climate Parents, which has branches all over the nation.
President Obama must decide whether or not to approve the development of the Keystone pipeline and he has stated he would not if it was proved that it could significantly worsen carbon pollution. The Friday report from the U.S. State Department said that while it finds that extraction from tar sands is more carbon polluting than traditional means of drilling for oil, it believed the oil might still be produced and shipped by another means, concluding that the proposed pipeline itself might not increase carbon emissions.The State Department has jurisdiction to review the proposed project because the pipeline would cross international borders.
Lisa Hoyos, founder of Climate Parents, which is a virtual organization, said “The president promised the pipeline would not be approved if it could make significant damage to our environment, to climate change.” She said the president “needs to make good on his promise to reject the pipeline.”