At least 10 Georgetown students joined an estimated 10 thousand demonstrators in front of the White House Sunday to protest the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Protestors urged the government to reconsider plans to construct the pipeline, a 1,700-mile-long structure which will carry oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas’ Gulf Coast. Because the pipeline is slated to cross the Canada-U.S. border, its creation must be first approved by President Obama.

In a press briefing yesterday, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Kerri-Ann Jones said that the State Department has not made a decision about the project.

“The Department of State is committed to an impartial, rigorous, transparent and thorough process for the National Interest Determination to determine whether or not this pipeline proposed by Keystone XL is in the national interest,” Jones said.

The protestors joined hands to form three concentric circles around the White House to symbolically “hug” the president, calling on Obama to reject the pipeline plan.

“It was really powerful [and] one of the best-organized actions I’ve ever seen,” protest attendee CodieKane (COL ’12) said.

According to fellow protestor Madeline Collins (COL ’13), who was arrested for participating in a sit-in against the project in September, the pipeline could cause serious environmental damage.

“It would cut through national parks and rivers and farms. It’s unsafe and could hurt various indigenous communities,” she said. “This is a really important issue for environmental advocates and students.”

Many at the protest, including Eli August (COL ’12), said that the government has been too favorable in its treatment of the pipeline.

“I think there is a sketchy relationship between TransCanada and the State Department,” August said.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the State Department will conduct an investigation of the government’s interactions with TransCanada in response to a request from 14 members of Congress last month that the department’s relationship with the company be more closely scrutinized.

According to the Times, in a Nov. 4 memorandum to members of the inspector general’s office, senior official Harold Geisel said that the administration will ensure that all parties in the pipeline approval process complied with the law.

For Collins, the protests are a way to publicly appeal to President Obama.

“We were trying to send a message,” she said. “Obama can just say no [to the pipeline]. The protests were a way of telling him to do the right thing.”

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