Student group protests pipeline

Taylor McStoots/The News Students stand outside of Carr Health protesting a proposed international pipeline.

Standing with more than 200 communities across the nation, the Murray Environmental Student Society and Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition spoke out against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline Friday.

MESS and KSEC’s protest was part of the national call to action known as “Draw the Line: Stop Keystone XL.” Protesters opposed the pipeline for varying reasons, including the environmental impact resulting from possible spills and human health concerns.

The four-phase Keystone pipeline is differentiated into two different lines: the already completed Keystone pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline currently under construction.

The Keystone pipeline, which began construction in 2007, resulted in a pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Patoka, Ill., became operational in 2010. The remaining two phases of pipeline construction are what is known as Keystone XL.

Keystone XL, once complete, would primarily transport synthetic crude oil from oil sands in Alberta across the U.S. into refineries in the Gulf Coast of Texas.

Murray State students protested the pipeline by carrying signs reading “no more pipe” and “draw the line on Keystone XL.” These protesters called on President Barack Obama to invest in more sustainable and safer forms of energy and to abandon this project.

MESS, which was formed in 2006, promotes multiple sustainability projects both on campus and nationally and attends different green energy workshops throughout the semester, most prominently, Powershift, a youth climate rally held in Pittsburg, Pa.

Allison Crawford, member of MESS, was one of the students gathered in protest in front of Carr Health before rain drove them to move the protest in front of Waterfield Library.

“Just this year we saw Exxon-Mobil’s Pegasus pipeline rupture, spilling more than 200,000 gallons of tar sands oil across a neighborhood and local waterways in Mayflower, Ark.,” Crawford said. “And we’re supposed to believe that this pipeline, which crosses the drinking and farming water of a third of our nation, that is much larger and crosses much more remote areas, isn’t going to rupture the same way?”

Also being protested was the proposed Bluegrass pipeline, which would transport natural gas liquids from the Marcellus and Utica shale producing areas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to markets in the far Northeast U.S. and the Gulf Coast.

The pipeline would cross Kentucky from Bracken County to Breckenridge County, more than a 150-mile route.

Crawford said the Bluegrass pipeline and the more prominent Keystone XL pipeline are similar in their motives.

“These out-of-state companies want to come in and put our communities at risk while they take all the profits for themselves and the political leaders who are choosing to side with them instead of the people they have sworn to protect,” she said. “And we’re not going to tolerate it.”


Story by Ben Manhanke, News Editor