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Anti-Keystone XL pipeline protests across the U.S. met with cold weather, snow

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Environmental activists protesting the Keystone XL pipeline over its alleged global warming impacts may have been praying for some warming this week when they were hit with frigid weather and snowfall.

Activists across the country were forced to march through freezing weather on Monday. Environmental groups planned more than 200 protests in 44 states to protest the Keystone XL pipeline following the release of the State Department’s final review of the project last week.

Protesters in Wichita, Kansas were met with 37 degree weather and with a major snowstorm headed towards the city. About 30 protesters marched through downtown Wichita to protest Keystone XL, which will carry oil sands from Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

“Contrary to what Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump say, weather is not climate,” Kent Rowe, a science and military history professor for the United States Air Force, told the Wichita Eagle. Three protests were scheduled to occur in Wichita on Monday night.

Planned protests in other areas were also met with cold weather and snow. A handful of environmentalists in Atkinson, Nebraska posed in front of a school bus, many of them bundled up and white snow covering the background.

Environmentalist leader Bill McKibben, who founded 350.org, tweeted out a photo of an anti-Keystone rally in Union Square in New York City with snow covering the ground and people dressed in coats, gloves and beanies holding anti-fossil fuels signs.

Protesters with CodePink were met with cold weather and snow in Colorado.

Environmentalists were thrown into a frenzy when the State Department found that the Keystone XL pipeline would not significantly impact the environment. Anti-pipeline activists argue that the pipeline would harm the climate because of the increased carbon dioxide emissions that would come from increased Canadian oil sands production.

“Even though the State Department continues to downplay clear evidence that the Keystone XL pipeline would lead to tar sands expansion and significantly worsen carbon pollution, it has, for the first time, acknowledged that the proposed project could accelerate climate change,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, international program director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Pipeline supporters argue that oil sands will be brought to market regardless of whether or not Keystone is built. Right now, existing pipelines, rail and trucks are taking oil sands from Canada to refineries or for export. The State Department also found that oil sands would be extracted and brought to market with or without Keystone.

“[A]pproval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed project, is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States based on expected oil prices, oil-sands supply costs, transport costs and supply-demand scenarios,” says the State Department’s report.

“I’ve been urging the administration to move forward on this project, and now that this long anticipated environmental review is complete, it’s time,” said Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo. “The American people have spoken, the science is clear, and now it’s time to embrace greater energy security.”

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