Professor leads Keystone Pipeline protest in D.C.

Anthropology professor Harvard Ayers shows on a map areas that will be affected by the pipeline.

Joshua Farmer

Anthropology professor Harvard Ayers shows on a map areas that will be affected by the pipeline. Fossil Free ASU, a student-run organization on campus, is bringing more than 150 students to Washington, D.C., Sunday to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Harvard Ayers, an instructor in the Department of Anthropology, said the environmental dangers that the pipeline poses outweigh the economic benefits.

If approved, the pipeline would span across the Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota, the Missouri River and 250 miles of the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska, he said.

“A leak or spill in any of these areas could be detrimental to both wildlife and local communities,” Ayers said.

The upcoming protest in Washington, D.C. is a follow-up to the 1,500-person rally that took place outside the White House this past November.

“App State’s protest won’t be on nearly the same scale, but hopefully 150-plus students dressed uniformly in yellow T-shirts emblazoned with ‘Fossil Free ASU’ will make a firm statement,” Ayers said.
Fossil Free ASU is a club that aims to rid the university of any holdings in fossil fuel companies, according to their Facebook page.

Junior appropriate technology major Garrett Simpson said he could not support a national project that sacrifices the safety of the environment for economic gain, especially when he said more energy and jobs could be had in renewable energy projects.

Appalachian State University faculty members overseeing the event are primarily funding the one-day trip.

Transcanada, the Canadian company heading the KXL project, has had a pending request for a presidential permit since March 4, 2012, but the Obama administration announced that a decision on the

KXL Pipeline would be postponed until after last November’s presidential election.

The U.S. State Department has promised Transcanada a decision during the first quarter of 2013, making the decision deadline March 31.

Story: NOLEN NYCHAY, Intern News Reporter

Photo: NICOLE DEBARTOLO, Intern Photographer