A few dozen activists held lit candles and signs near the state Capitol in a Monday evening protest against the Keystone XL pipeline project. Organizer Paul Pickett said the 6 p.m. event coincided with protests across the country aimed at encouraging President Obama to reject the TransCanada project that would carry heavy crude oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast through several Midwest states. Many signs urged Obama to reject the pipeline.
The State Department’s final environmental review of the project was released Friday, triggering a 90-day review period. The agency’s report concluded the fuel sources in Canada would be exploited, adding to greenhouse gas emissions, whether the pipeline goes forward or not, according to a report by McClatchy Newspapers.
But the federal agency also found the project’s oil-sand derived crude products 17 percent more carbon emissions than typical crude oil and more than other heavy oil sources from Venezuela and Mexico, according to McClatchy. The State Department can accept or reject the project, and Obama has said he would not approve the project unless it “does not significantly exacerbate the climate problem.’’
Pickett, who stood with more than 50 people and their signs in the near-freezing cold, said the report to be given to Secretary of State John Kerry was flawed. Pickett's position is shared by many in the environmental movement that has geared up to reduce U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases that scientists link to global warming.
Activists were hoping for vigils in as many as 250 cities across the country.