“Stop the pipeline!”
The chant resounded across East Liberty Street and South 5th Avenue on Monday night, when more than 20 students and Ann Arbor locals petitioned the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, an oil line expected to cause hazardous environmental effects.
The protest took place outside of the Ann Arbor Federal Building. It was one of many united KXL protests that occurred throughout the country supported by CREDO, National Rainforest Network, the Sierra Club, 350.org and a number of other associations dedicated to environmental conservation.
KXL is a proposed 1,179-mile pipeline that will transport up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, traveling through multiple U.S. states.
Protestors gathered in response to the U.S. Department of State’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement regarding KXL, which was released Friday. Many of the protestors believe this statement invited presidential approval of construction.
At the vigil, protestors brought candles and held up signs that matched their shouts of “Stop the Pipeline!” and “Pipeline, no!” During the event, multiple people shared their views on why President Barack Obama should reject construction of the pipeline.
Rep. Jeff Irwin (D–Ann Arbor), a speaker at the event, said he opposes the construction of the pipeline, and seeks the development of more clean energy sources.
“If we want to power prosperity in this nation going forward for many generations, then we need to start thinking smarter, we need to start thinking cleaner, we need to develop sources that we control,” Irwin said. “We’re certainly working hard in Lansing to try and support clean energy investments.”
LSA sophomore Nicholas Jansen represented the University’s “Divest and Invest Campaign,” which promotes America’s separation from the fossil fuel industry in favor of clean energy investments. Jansen said KXL is a pivotal point for American politics.
“While the Keystone XL won’t have the most dramatic impact on the climate, it’s a very symbolic part of the movement,” he said. “If it ends up getting passed, it’s really showing what our government thinks about our climate and the direction we’re going.”