By Natalie Camrud '17Staff Writer
On Saturday, Sept. 21, the Claremont Colleges Divestment Team participated in 350.org’s national “Draw the Line” day of action against the Keystone XL pipeline. They joined thousands of people across the United States who took part in the protests to show President Obama their aversion to the pipeline and to try and make him prevent the expansion of it. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would add 1,700 miles to the already existing Keystone pipeline and would stretch from Alaska down to the gulf coast. The pipeline would carry tar sands oil, which is considered to be one of the dirtiest fossil fuels.
If built, the pipeline will go through six US states and cross major rivers such as the Yellowstone and the Missouri Rivers, as well as fresh water drinking sources. Tar sand oil is highly corrosive and therefore the possibility of a spill is very likely. If there were a spill then drinking water for 2 million Americans would be contaminated, as well as large rivers and natural areas. In addition, tar sands oil sinks rather than floats, which makes cleanup more difficult and more costly.
There have been protests across the country against the pipeline on a large scale; over 1,500 people have already been arrested for peaceful protests and in Feb. 40,000 people went to Washington to march against the pipeline. The Day of Action on Sept. 21 was another national protest, and the Claremont Divestment Team showed their solidarity against the pipeline by creating a “pipeline” out of yarn that stretched across all the 5C’s, to show the enormity of the pipeline, and then marched across the campuses while wearing black t-shirts.
By taking part in a larger, national movement, the students on the team showed that the Claremont Colleges are against an environmental disaster like the Keystone XL pipeline. Protests like this show the president that many Americans feel unified regarding this issue, which will contribute to his decision concerning the pipeline. His decision, and the decisions of other politicians like the president will determine not only our future, but also that of coming generations.