Activists Bundle Up To Protest Keystone XL Outside Dem Senate Offices

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Student activists bundled up on Tuesday to protest the Senate’s upcoming vote on the Keystone XL pipeline. The eco-activists specifically targeted Senate Democrats who have said they will vote in favor of the pipeline.

Democratic Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware and Michael Bennet of Colorado have come out in support of approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which has made them a target of environmentalists who want to see the project defeated in the Senate.

“Senator Carper and Bennet must know that if they are going to stand with big oil and support the Keystone XL pipeline, then they will lose the support of the youth vote,” Elli Bloomberg, an American University student protesting at Bennett’s office, said in a statement.

Environmentalists argue that Keystone will harm the environment and contribute to global warming. So they bundled up to withstand the frigid blast of Arctic weather and protest against Democrats who have pledged to vote in favor of legislation approving the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline.

“As young people we must demand better of these Democratic senators and hold them accountable,” he said. “Keystone XL is unacceptable, it will ruin my generation’s future, and violates the right of indigenous communities.”

The Senate is set to vote this evening on a bill introduced by Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Last week, the House passed an identical bill introduced by Landrieu’s electoral opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy. They face off in a runoff election next month. Cassidy is firmly in the lead.

Currently, Keystone supporters have 59 votes in support of passing Landrieu’s bill– one short of a filibuster-proof majority. But even if 60 votes can be conjured up to support the pipeline, President Barack Obama is unlikely to sign the legislation. The White House has said it takes a “dim view” of the pro-Keystone bill.

“It’s fair to say that our dim view of these kinds of proposals has not changed,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

Environmentalists have been heavily campaigning to defeat Landrieu’s bill and convince the Obama administration to not grant the pipeline a presidential permit required for the northern leg of the project to be built.

On Monday, activists protested outside Landrieu’s Capitol Hill home. Now, activists are taking to the Hill, protesting at the offices of key Democrats who have come out in favor of the pipeline.

Bennet announced his support for the pipeline last Friday, making him the 59th “yes” vote for approving Keystone XL, which will bring oil sands from Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Carper announced his support for Landrieu’s bill last week as well, saying Keystone “almost single-handedly made it difficult-to-impossible” to address green energy issues in the Senate. Republicans could always sneak a Keystone approval amendment into energy efficiency and green energy legislation.

Environmentalists protested outside Carper’s Wilmington, Delaware on Monday because of his promised “yes” vote on Landrieu’s bill.

“It has impeded our ability to work together and make progress even on issues that we’re in agreement on,” Carper said. “We need to address this issue and we need to move on. My hope is that my willingness to show some flexibility at this point in time will be reciprocated by the Republicans in a new majority when the time comes to address clean-air issues, clean-energy issues, energy conservation issues in a new Congress– because I sure expect them to reciprocate.”

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