A snowy Minneapolis Monday was the backdrop as about 80 environmental activists protested outside Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office on Washington Avenue to demand that Klobuchar reverse course and vote against approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
The crowd was undeterred by the cold as it serenaded the Democratic senator’s office with an anti-pipeline version of the song, Let it Snow:
Oh, the climate reports are frightful
But your vote could be decide-ful
That pipeline has got to go
Just vote no, just vote no, just vote no
Klobuchar was not on hand to witness the protest and her office issued no response.
The demonstration kicked off a week’s worth of protests and actions organized by Idle No More and other environmental groups, including MN 350, which oppose the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would carry Canadian crude to refineries on the Gulf Coast, and the Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline, which would carry oil from North Dakota to transfer facilities in the Twin Ports of Duluth-Superior. Idle No More, a protest group that represents First Nation peoples in Canada, claims the Enbridge pipeline would run illegally across the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota.
“We do not want the XL pipeline going through the United States,” said Patricia Shepard of Idle No More Minnesota. “We’re not going to be beneficiaries from it. Plus, it’s dirty. It’s contaminating the lands. People are dying from cancers up in Alberta.”
Shepard, like other environmentalists, disputes the safety of the pipeline and added that, “We want (Klobuchar) to listen to Minnesotans who voted her into office.”
A group of organizers met with the senator’s staffers to ask Klobuchar to vote no on the Keystone XL pipeline should President Obama approve it. Kate Jacobsen, an organizer with the group MN 350, said that the Senate has the power to override the president, should he make such a decision. Jacobsen said activists believe Klobuchar is leaning towards supporting the pipeline and that’s why they organized Monday’s protest. A spokesperson for Klobuchar did not disclose whether Klobuchar’s staff provided protesters with any response.
“We are here to say to her (Klobuchar) that we’ve heard from climate scientists that the further expansion of the tar sands and further development and capacity through the Keystone XL is ‘Game Over” for the climate,” said Jacobsen.
Idle No More is also planning a protest in front of the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis as well as an environmental symposium.