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Thousands Rally at Nations Capital to Protest Pipeline

People from all over the country gather in front of the white house to let Obama know they will not stand for the production of the Keystone XL Pipeline

February 17th, an estimated 40,000 protesters rallied at the White House against the production of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Keystone Pipeline is a system of transportation for crude oil and diluted bitumen from Alberta Canada to multiple places in the United States.  Advocates against the pipeline argue that it would be detrimental to the environment, specifically the tar sands that would be carried from Canada to the United States via the Keystone Pipeline. The pipeline was originally proposed in February 2005. Initially Canadians were against the pipeline because they thought it would benefit America more than Canada.

However, those who showed up to protest in February 2013 were there to show their disapproval of the Keystone XL. The Keystone XL is the extension of the already existing pipeline. It was first proposed in 2008 and was approved by the National Board of Canada in March 2010. Environmental activists have warned against the dangers of tar sands ever since an extension was proposed. Although tar sands seem to be the most frequently discussed environmental danger, there are a number of environmental risks to the pipeline. Protesters were taking a stand against dilute bitumen, often called Dilbit. Dilbit is a highly toxic hydrocarbon.

President Obama initially signed against the pipeline in January 2012 stating that he wanted more time for an environmental review. However, on March 22nd, Obama approved the building of the southern half that begins in the middle of Oklahoma.

The rally was organized by Hip Hop caucus, 350.org and the Sierra Club. It’s been named the largest climate rally in the history of America. Although there is no way to determine the actual number of participants, its assumed that there were more than 40,000 people there. Bill Mckibben, founder of 350.org told Politico, “All I ever wanted to see was a movement of people to stop climate change and now I’ve seen it.”

Obama is expected to make a final decision soon.

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