On October 7, 2011, the State Department held its final public meeting on the proposed oil pipeline between Canada and Texas. Supporters and opponents voiced their opinion about whether the Administration should grant a permit to build the pipeline.
The Keystone XL pipeline is a 1,700-mile 36-inch crude oil pipeline that would begin in Alberta, Canada and extend southeast through the U.S., eventually ending in Nederland, Texas. The pipeline's builders say it will provide "significant, positive contributions to U.S. energy security and the U.S. economy valued at over $20 billion."
Opponents of the pipeline include The Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and seven other Nobel Peace Prize winners - they sent a letter to President Obama expressing their concern that if the pipeline leaks it could severely contaminate the drinking water of over two million people.
Protests against the pipeline in Washington resulted in the arrests of over 1,200 people over the summer, making it what some protest organizers called the largest act of civil disobedience since the Vietnam War protests.
The opponents' letter tells the President that rejecting the pipeline "provides a tremendous opportunity to begin (a) transition away from our dependence on oil, coal and gas and instead increase investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency."
The forum heard close to 70 people speak on the issue. Several similar meetings last week in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Montana had at least 1,000 people in attendance.