This October St. Mary’s Environmental Action Commission (SEAC) attended a rally in protest of the building of the Keystone pipeline. The specific rally involved 10,000 people encircling the White House. “The original goal of the action’s organizers was 3,000 so we surpassed it by more than three times. We brought about 20 people from St. Mary’s, most of whom were involved with SEAC and the Maryland Student Climate Coalition. We attended a rally in Lafayette Park, where Bill McKibben, Mark Rufalo, and others addressed the crowd,” said SEAC President, Caroline Selle.
This rally was only one of several that have taken place throughout the year, and students from St. Mary’s have gotten involved in several different ways. Selle became involved after hearing about the effects of the pipeline while working for an environmental organization in D.C. “I didn’t know what they were and started to do a lot of research. It turns out that they’re pretty horrible and with climate change and the risk of oil spills, pose a big danger to public health,” said Selle. Since then Selle, alongside other members of the St. Mary’s community, have been working towards convincing the Obama administration to put a halt towards the building.
At the October rally, the protesters finally made some headway. Obama announced that the project would be re-reviewed. “I’d like to see more pressure put on Obama to make decisions in reaction to environmental justice issues rather than corporate interests. I think the pipeline protests were a big step in the right direction but not a complete victory, and there’s still a lot more to do,” said Selle. If you would like to know more about the pipeline you can go to tarsandaction.org.