Michigan Students Arrested in protest of Keystone XL Pipeline

from Wildlife Promise

Photo by Ben Powless, used with Creative Commons License via tarsandsaction flickr

After a weekend break out of respect for the state of emergency declared due to hurricane Irene, The Tar Sands Action demonstration in Washington D.C. resumed its normal schedule Monday 8/29where three dedicated Michigan students, Chloe Gleichman, Anna  Grabowski, and Chris Corrigan laid their bodies on the line to send the serious message that the Keystone XL pipeline is not in our nation’s interest.

The Michigan students were just a small part of the 140 people who were arrested that Monday morning. The group also included students and Americans from across the country, a large group of religious leaders, and America’s top climate scientist James Hansen who has been quoted saying the Keystone XL pipeline would be “Essentially game over” for the climate.

Photo by Josh Lopez, used with Creative Commons License vis tarsandsaction flickr

Because they had experienced the devastation of a tar sands oil spill first hand, The Michigan students were especially determined to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. Just over one ago, the Enbridgepipeline gushed 1 million gallons of tar sands oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River watershed. The clean up process has been a nightmare, with the EPA discovering more and more contamination every day. Today, over 40 miles of waterway remain contaminated by submerged tar sands oil.

The Keystone XL pipeline would not only carry tar sands oil, one of the dirtiest and costliest fuels on the planet, 2,000 miles from Canada through America’s heartland, but promises to raise gas prices in the Midwest. TransCanada, the company proposing the pipeline, has testified to this fact themselves.

For these reasons, and many others, Chloe, Anna, and Chris decided that it was time to take action. They travelled over 12 hours to Washington D.C. and though the Tar Sands demonstration was cancelled over the weekend when they had originally planned to participate, they stayed in D.C. until Monday, more determined than ever to participate fully in this historic action.

Chloe described the action as “the best thing I’ve done in my life to date, no exaggeration.  And that is because finally I was fighting for something. My overwhelming desire and restlessness to fight for the planet was finally matched through my actions, and that is something so fulfilling, it is hard to even describe in words.”

In short, Michigan students are ready to continue to rally against the Keystone Xl pipeline and are in a prime position to do so. Michigan will likely be a key battleground for the 2012 election and a decision from Obama to reject the pipeline would reinvigorate and inspire youth voters in the state and help mobilize their support for his presidential campaign.

Photo by Josh Lopez, used with Creative Commons Licence via tarsandsaction flickr