Thousands of activists created a human chain around the White House with a mock inflatable pipeline to oppose a proposed transnational oil pipeline they believe could harm the environment. The protesters are ramping up pressure on President Obama to stop the 1700-mile pipeline that would cut through six states in the heart of the nation.
The protest of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline came exactly one year before the 2012 election and was designed to send a message to Obama that failure to act will lead to a drop-off in enthusiasm from the environmentalists who backed him in 2008.
The project pits environmentalists against Republicans and many top labor groups — with both sides suggesting that the president will pay politically if he doesn't side with them. Backers of the project say the pipeline will create thousands of jobs and help reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
TransCanada’s initial estimate of 20,000 — which it said includes 13,000 direct construction jobs and 7,000 jobs among supply manufacturers — has been widely quoted by lawmakers and presidential candidates.
[TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling] said Friday that the 13,000 figure was “one person, one year,” meaning that if the construction jobs lasted two years, the number of people employed in each of the two years would be 6,500. That brings the company’s number closer to the State Department’s [estimate of] 5,000 to 6,000 construction jobs.
The President acknowledged last week that he "will make the final decision" on the controversial project. The decision expected before year’s end.
In related news: ExxonMobil begins removing today a section of damaged pipeline that broke beneath Montana’s Yellowstone River in July. "An estimated 42,000 gallons of oil leaked into the river" and the repair cost will be at least $135million, reports AP.
Watch video from the protest WHEN YOU JUMP ...