The group claims to be pressuring Kerry to stop Enbridge Energy from refurbishing and expanding its pipeline, which originates in the Alberta oil sands. Enbridge, which says the pipeline was built in 1968 and is nearing the end of its safe lifespan, is encountering strife from environmentalists as it seeks approval for its work in several Great Lakes states. Michigan is the most directly impacted; the pipeline will pass under the Straits of Mackinac, but despite concerns, will not carry crude oil.
That didn’t stop Midwest Unrest from busing around a hundred protesters from Michigan to the Secretary’s front lawn, complaining that although the Secretary has made comments on the environment in the past, he has not given as much attention to the Enbridget project as he has to other projects, including Keystone.
The Midwest Unrest protesters, many of whom were bused from the Midwest to Washington overnight, marched to Kerry’s Georgetown residence from a small park nearby. Some held up signs quoting Kerry describing climate change as “a weapon of mass destruction.” Others expressed confusion over why the Obama administration would take a more cautious approach toward approving a permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which has been under consideration at the State Department for years.
“We’re saying, ‘Secretary Kerry, pay the same attention to this as you do to Keystone,'” said Kenny Bruno, a longtime activist who also attended Tuesday’s rally. “They’re both dirty, they’re both not in the national interest, so you’ve got to reject it.”
The protest drew students, recent graduates and veteran environmental activists.
Police allowed the protest to go on for four hours before arresting 20 protesters.
Their partner organization, Midwest Unrest, is relatively new to the spotlight, though the name has been applied before to a Chicago-centric organization formed by “anarchists and anti-capitalists” to protest various free trade agreements and public transportation cuts. They now consider their mission to be the Enbridge Pipeline, which they claim was green-lighted in a backroom deal before any organization had a chance to assess the potential environmental impact. Although Enbridge has been talking about their pipe refurbishment for some time, Midwest Unrest selected these last several weeks as an action period, because they fall ahead of the Alberta Clipper case, scheduled to be heard in Federal court September 10th.
Although the group does not boast of any high-level support, it’s a partner of 350.org, the massive environmental activism group founded by Bill McKibben. 350.org considers itself a grasssroots outfit, but is, in reality, a multi-million dollar organization with funding from groups like The Rockefeller Foundation, which appears to have supplied about half of the $10 million McKibben’s campaigns, including 350.org, received between 2005 and 2013, according to the Financial Post. Much of that money has gone to projects opposing the Keystone XL pipeline. Midwest Unrest is the latest simply the latest addition to the 350.org family.
Cross-posted from LeftExposed.org.