by Jeff Mann, Online Director, Energy Action Coalition
Guest post by University of Richmond student Taylor Holden
While most University of Richmond students were ecstatic that President Obama chose their school to speak at, one campus group looked forward to his visit for a different reason. Over the past few weeks a civil disobedience campaign has taken place outside the White House, resulting in hundreds of arrests, including some UR students. The protest is against the Keystone XL oil pipeline. This pipeline, if constructed, would take oil from the tar sands in Canada all the way down the US and to the Gulf refineries. The issue with this oil, besides continuing our dependence, is that the process of extracting the oil from the tar sands creates more pollution and environmental damage than regular drilling.
The Green UR club at University of Richmond took the historic opportunity of Obama’s visit as a chance to become involved with the protest and promote the cause through the media attention brought on by the visit. Their demonstration was a reminder to Obama that he cannot run from the issue and that people everywhere care about decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels, especially ones as dirty as oil derived from tar sands.
Currently the only person that can approve or deny the deal is Obama. Obama has reiterated over and over again the importance of reducing oil dependence and investing in clean energy. If he approves this pipeline he is proving that his words are nothing more than an attempt to sway environmentalists and secure their votes.