WASHINGTON (CNN) — Dozens of environmental activists – including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and actress Daryl Hannah – cuffed themselves to a White House gate on Wednesday in a climate change protest that ultimately resulted in their arrests.
Chanting, “President Obama, we don’t want no climate drama!” activists demanded concrete government action on the issue. Their first hope: the Obama administration’s rejection of the controversial Keystone Pipeline XL.
“We’re out here saying, ‘President Obama, you must reject the Keystone Pipeline,” Hannah told a reporter. “This is a lethal project that is the largest fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet.”
This is not the first time Hannah has been arrested in front of the White House protesting the pipeline. She took part in a similar protest in August of 2012.
Calling it a “monumental boondoggle” for profit-rich oil companies, Kennedy said, “It is going to poison the air, it’s going to sicken, it’s going to injure and it’s going to kill millions of people over time.”
A final decision over expanding the pipeline could come this spring, according to the State Department. That agency is reviewing the pipeline since it would cross international boundaries.
The 1,700-mile conduit would export between 500,000 to 700,000 barrels of crude oil from tar sands from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The first stage of the project, approved in 2008 and started in 2010, transported export oil from Canada to America’s midwest. Just over a year ago, the Obama administration rejected the project’s expansion – from Canada to the Gulf Coast – citing the need for more time to review it. The administration pushed off final decision until after the presidential election.
The pipeline’s builder has urged final approval.
“TransCanada continues to believe in the value of Keystone XL due to the overwhelming support the project has received from American and Canadian producers and U.S. refiners who signed 17 to 18 year contracts to ship over hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day to meet the needs of American consumers,” the company wrote in a statement on its website. “TransCanada anticipates approval of the presidential Permit application…in the first quarter of 2013.”
Supporters maintain the pipeline will be safe. They also assert it will help the U.S. become more energy independent and will create thousands of jobs.
In January, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved a rerouting of the pipeline in the state, saying it would have “minimal environmental impact.”
Yet opponents fear the worst.
Environmental activists fear the pipeline could break or leak, threatening water supplies and the environment, and could contribute to greenhouse gases.
“I don’t think President Obama is going to permit this pipeline to happen,” Kennedy said. “I think President Obama has a strong moral core, he is not going to do something that is immoral, that is reckless and that is going to impose the costs of our joyride for these wealthy oil companiesâ€¦on future generations of Americans and citizens all across the planet.”
“I do not believe he will do that and I do not believe that [Secretary of State] John Kerry will do it,” Kennedy added.
The Sierra Club, 350.org and their supporters attended the Wednesday protest at the White House. Those groups will also sponsor a Sunday rally in Washington over climate change.
By: CNN Political Reporter Shannon Travis