Dozens of people have been arrested today at a sit-in staged in front of the White House to protest the proposed 1,700-mile-long Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas, which President Obama is scheduled to mull over in the coming weeks.
About 70 people stood outside the north entrance of the building on Saturday August 20 with signs urging Obama to nix the plan by denying Calgary-based TransCanada a permit, according to media reports. Among the chanting protesters arrested were Gus Speth, who chaired the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality during Jimmy Carter's presidency, The Wall Street Journal reported. He also co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council.
"If we hook up the Alberta tar sands to America's insatiable lust of gasoline, I worry that you can just kiss the planet good-bye," he told The Wall Street Journal.
The arrests come on the heels of the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) August 18 condemnation of the pipeline. Protesters are mobilizing through the second half of August to bring attention to the damaging effects of the existing installations, which many experts say are among the planet's worst carbon offenders.
In this video, Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo lends his support to the protesters.
"Up north where the tar sands are located, native people's homelands have already been wrecked," he says, directing those against the pipeline to Tar Sands Action’s website. "All that new oil will worsen global warming. It's time for us to get off fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are over."