by Sophie King
Students from this school will travel to Washington, D.C. this weekend to protest in a student-led act of civil disobedience against Keystone XL, a major oil pipeline extension.
“XL Dissent,” slated to be the largest ever student activist event in the recent environmental movement, aims to show President Obama that there is a “huge amount of support against the pipeline,” according to senior Sophie Sokolov, who will be participating along with five other students from this school.
Obama is now considering the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry over 800,000 barrels of tar-sands oil each day through America, from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast, according to the event’s website. This oil causes public health problems and destroys ecosystems at its point of extraction, brings risks of spills in its transportation, and releases high levels of carbon when it is burned, according to the event’s website.
Supporters of the pipeline say that it will create tens of thousands of jobs, bring billions of dollars to the U.S. economy, and contribute to the energy security of the U.S., according to the website run by the company involved in the production, TransCanada. The U.S. Department of State’s latest environmental report on the pipeline suggests that there would be few environmental problems caused by the pipeline.
Sokolov described government reports estimating a minimal impact of the pipeline as “blatantly untrue,” and said, “It’s ridiculous to what extent the fossil fuel companies have an interest in our government.”
The event will raise the voices of the youth and the people in the communities affected by the pipeline, many of whom have not been heard, she said.
“I’m excited because it’s going to be 500-plus college activists in one place,” said Sokolov. The event was organized by college students.
Students from this school will not be participating in the arrestable portion of the event because they are mostly under the age of 18. They will travel to D.C. on buses booked by the student activist organization Students for a Just and Stable Future, and sleep in a church along with other protesters from around the country, according to Sokolov.