MI Students Against Keystone XL Pipeline- Will risk arrest this weekend at the Tar Sands Action in D.C

This week, four courageous college students from Michigan are travelling to Washington, D.C. to take part in the “Stop the Pipeline” Tar Sands Action.

The action, organized by 350.org’s co-founder Bill McKibben, is not just a single day but rather a two-week wave of extended civil disobedience that began this past Saturday, Aug 20th. While arrests are a potential outcome of the action – being arrested is not the goal. The intent is to send a message that stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline from being approved is so urgent and serious that thousands of people are willing to escalate their commitment and pressure on the Obama administration.  In all, over 2,000 people from all 50 states are expected to participate.

And it’s no wonder so many are concerned about the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. The controversial 2,000 mile project would carry tar sands oil, one of the dirtiest and costliest fuels on the planet, from Canada through America’s heartland. The reasons against exploiting Canada’s vast tar sands resources are too many to count, but here are some of the finer points:

  1. Mining and extracting tar sands destroys enormous swaths of important ecosystems, produces lake-sized reservoirs of toxic waste.
  2. Compared to conventional crude oil production, tar sands production creates an estimated 82 percent more greenhouse gas.
  3. Transporting this dirty fuel to U.S. markets has also proven to be extremely dangerous, unpredictable and uncontrollable with frequent spills that are even harder to clean up, because oh yeah, tar sands sink.


Michiganders are especially apt to be against any expansion of tar sands oil use because many of them have experienced the nightmare of a tar sands oil spill first hand. A full year after the Enbridge pipeline gushed 1 million gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River watershed, 40 miles of waterway remain contaminated by submerged tar sands oil.

Chloe Gleichman, the president of Central Michigan University’s Student Environmental Association (SEA) is one of the Michigan students planning on participating in the Tar Sands Action this Saturday the designated “youth” day of the action. Washington D.C. is almost a full 12 hour drive from where the students are leaving from. When asked why she was willing to travel so far and risk arrest on top of it all, Chloe responded:

“I am going to the Tar Sands Action because it is far past time that our leaders defend our planet in the name of a clean and livable future.  For far too long, we have protected the interests of corporations that profit from irresponsible destruction of life-sustaining resources. Every single person is affected by the toxic emissions caused by the most destructive industrial project ever to begin: tar sands.  I am willing to risk arrest to stop the development of this abominable practice in hope and in struggle for a better world, one that embraces sustainable practices instead of relying on short-term, short-sighted solutions that ignore the well being of all life.  I want future generations to look back at us with thanksgiving rather than resentment.  If we don’t stand up and defend the planet on which we all so desperately rely, then who will?”The group of Michigan students will be leaving Thursday night of this week. Stay tuned for live updates from the D.C.!

The group of Michigan students will be leaving Thursday night of this week. Stay tuned for live updates from D.C.!

Please reach out to our Congressional leaders and demand that we protect communities, wildlife and our natural resources before rushing dangerous tar sands pipeline projects, like the Keystone XL.