Activists: "Keep the oil in the ground"

Posted at: 02/03/2014 11:48 PM
Updated at: 02/03/2014 11:58 PM
By: Steve Flamisch

ALBANY – Twenty-five activists lined the sidewalk outside the Leo W. O’Brien Federal Building on Monday to protest the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The nearly 900-mile-long pipeline would carry tar sands crude oil from Canada to Nebraska, and south to the Gulf Coast.

"The pipeline leaks," Susan Weber of MoveOn.Org said. "The pipeline spills. The pipeline poisons. And the pipeline exacerbates the global climate change problem."

A U.S. State Department report issued Friday said the project would not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions, but other agencies must weigh in before the president decides.

"The president believes that he ought to -- and we ought to -- allow that process to run its course," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday.

The activists called on the president to reject the pipeline, adding that they are also opposed to transporting crude oil by train.

Frank Sullivan, who took part in the protest, told NewsChannel 13 he fears that advocates of the pipeline will claim rail is the only viable alternative.

"They're going to say, 'If you can't have this, you've got to have this,'" Sullivan said. "And that's just not the case. We need to push renewables."

It is unclear if the pipeline would result in more or less crude oil coming to the Capital Region, including the Port of Albany.

The activists wrapped-up by marching to the state Department of Education (DEC), which is deciding whether to grant a permit for a boiler plant to burn oil in Albany.

"We don't want any of it, and we don't need it," activist Joe Seeman said. "We can have clean energy, renewable energy. The technology is there. All we need is the political will."

A passerby heckled the activists, asking if they drove to Albany using gasoline refined from oil. Seeman said he drives a hybrid. Another activist said she takes the bus.

Still others admitted they do drive vehicles fully powered by gasoline, but they added they still favor a move toward renewable energy.