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  • XLDissentYouth unemployment stands at a miserable 16.3%, one of the highest rates since World War II; average graduating student debt has risen to a staggering $29,400; and national debt per capita has reached its highest-ever level--$52,948.

    Despite these numbers, progressive youth from across the country--collectivized into a group named XLDissent--will gather in the nation's capital tomorrow to protest the construction of Keystone XL, an extension of the oil pipeline system which runs from Alberta, Canada down to the Gulf Coast of Texas. According to XL Dissent's "Call to Action," the students plan to begin their march at Georgetown University and take it to the White House, where 300 of them are expected to risk arrest and many more are expected to participate in "a huge rally featuring speakers from communities that are at the frontlines of the fight against tar sands oil."

    The students have chosen to begin their march at Georgetown because it was there last July that President Obama opined on Americans' responsibility to fight climate change: "Someday, our children, and our children's children, will look at us in the eye and they'll ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more stable world?  And I want to be able to say, yes, we did."

    Apparently, the primary impetus for this protest is that many of these students voted for the president and they have gotten little to nothing in return. Now--after five years of watching him fail to keep the myriad promises he so boldly made to them, a core constituency of his liberal base--they have decided to take action.

    It is, indeed, refreshing to see that young progressives who once supported Obama have the willingness to publicly criticize him for failing to uphold his end of the bargain.

    Yet, their actions are misguided and likely harmful to their own generation. This protest--and more critically, the president's inaction on Keystone XL--will do no good for the economic plight of youth in the country.

    Contrary to XL Dissent's criticisms, the pipeline extension would provide very real benefits to the both the U.S. economy and the environment. It would create at least 42,100 jobs, not to mention the many positions it would create in industries--such as hospitality and manufacturing--needed to support employment along the pipeline. It would even reduce the environmental impact of transporting oil across the heart of America. Canadian companies' using rail and tanker to move oil would actually increase greenhouse gas emissions by 28%. Also of interest is that many Canadian companies have indicated their intention to develop the oil sands in question with or without the construction of Keystone XL.

    There are certainly risks to operating an oil pipeline that runs from Canada to Texas. There are also risks to transporting oil by current methods. This seems to have escaped the imagination of the student activists.

    Considering the poor state of the economy--particularly for youth--what these students should do instead is pressure the White House to approve a project which will deliver much-needed jobs and more energy security for the United States.

    According to the letter of the law, Secretary of State John Kerry holds the authority to make the final decision on this project. President Obama has stated, however, that he himself will make that call in a few months, following yet another review--this one concerning what national interest the United States has in building the extension of the pipeline.

    With the country facing a steep climb back to a robust economy, the president surely does not need yet another report to inform him of what national interest there is in Keystone XL. This recognition would dictate that he approve the project. Doing so might well be one of the few decisions he takes that will mitigate the economic gloom shrouding the country. It would also help him bring about some of that change he promised to youth five years ago--change from policy after policy that has stifled the growth of both the number and quality of employment opportunities in the country.

     

    Raj Kannappan is the Program Officer for Chapter Services for Young America's Foundation. 

    • Readers' Comments

    • Heck of a job there, it abuolstely helps me out.
      Posted by Doc on 07/01/2015
    • The rejection is not<a href="http://gbesuhrboz.com"> rllaey</a> a rejection if the company can repermit. Why was this a stipulation if the Obama administration cares that this pipeline not be built? And why are people ignoring that one is already in service in this country and this tarsands crud is being refined and burned in the U.S. already? And realistically, you won't solve the climate crisis in part at least until you stop the tarsands. Canada is already negotiating with China to get a pipeline to the Pacific to export it even though it has been vocally protested by indigenous people who are already suffering because of it. So what do we do even if the Keystone XL is not built here? That won't stop it from being burned and the Boreal Forest from being destroyed. So again, what is the next step? When do we get<a href="http://gbesuhrboz.com"> rllaey</a> serious about stopping this? Or is it truly too late to stop this environmental catastrophe?Where was everyone when the tarsands started? I saw Al Gore out here talking about it, I was out here, some others were out here, but nobody listened then. I also signed this (like I have signed a hundred others because I do care) but I know you like other organizations are playing this up for politics too. However, this goes so far beyond one petition. Even if you stop this move by the senate, again after the election the company can repermit and it can be approved then after their environmental review and there will nothing we can do about it. That is why partisan politics will also not solve this crisis.
      Posted by Govinda on 07/01/2015
    • The rejection is not relaly a rejection if the company can repermit. Why was this a stipulation if the Obama administration cares that this pipeline not be built? And why are people ignoring that one is already in service in this country and this tarsands crud is being refined and burned in the U.S. already? And realistically, you won't solve the climate crisis in part at least until you stop the tarsands. Canada is already negotiating with China to get a pipeline to the Pacific to export it even though it has been vocally protested by indigenous people who are already suffering because of it. So what do we do even if the Keystone XL is not built here? That won't stop it from being burned and the Boreal Forest from being destroyed. So again, what is the next step? When do we get relaly serious about stopping this? Or is it truly too late to stop this environmental catastrophe?Where was everyone when the tarsands started? I saw Al Gore out here talking about it, I was out here, some others were out here, but nobody listened then. I also signed this (like I have signed a hundred others because I do care) but I know you like other organizations are playing this up for politics too. However, this goes so far beyond one petition. Even if you stop this move by the senate, again after the election the company can repermit and it can be approved then after their environmental review and there will nothing we can do about it. That is why partisan politics will also not solve this crisis. http://rknpavdo.com [url=http://adrpjotqm.com]adrpjotqm[/url] [link=http://pfblnoeisq.com]pfblnoeisq[/link]
      Posted by Maheen on 07/03/2015
    • I didn't see the protest or any TV<a href="http://heaifi.com"> cvrgoaee</a>, but I am amazed to hear that so many people turned out for the protest. The huge turnout of protesters, of all ages and backgrounds, reminds me of The Ribbon anti-nuclear protest of the early 80 s, when many thousands of people from across the U.S. gathered in D.C. to protest the nuclear arms race, by tying together cloth panels expressing what we could not bear to lose in a nuclear war. I participated in that, and we had such a wide variety of people there, it was really touching. There were people of all ages, races, cultural backgrounds and areas of the country, as well as some from other countries. I watched as our giant Ribbon of thousands of panels connected end to end, held by those who made them, and stretched across the Potomac River, and circled around the Pentagon and a number of other government buildings, in a very large, peaceful protest. There was no way the President or Congress could have ignored such a huge protest. There were young mothers with children, grandmothers, young adults, people of different religions and ethnicity, and they all came together peacefully to make a massive visual statement. I was in awe of the huge turnout at that protest, with so many different kinds of people coming together. The pipeline protest must have been very similar. I have been hearing of email campaigns that tens of thousands of people responded to, for environmental issues facing Congresss. This puts a physical face on all those email responders, It's great to know that so many people are willing to stand up for environmental protection and against things can hasten climate change. We need to do a lot more of this, to make our leaders wake up and pay attention, and to counteract the lobbying power of big oil polluters.
      Posted by Surinder on 07/05/2015
    • Dear Jan,This week, Rep. -will vote on a bill that includes a meuarse to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. The Arctic Refuge is our greatest wilderness icon and is home to caribou, polar bears, and hundreds of bird species that migrate to all 50 states and six continents. It’s a pristine, intact ecosystem that is unparalleled in North America, and for the first time in six years, pro-drilling Representatives are pushing to open this amazing place to Big Oil’s dirty, dangerous drills.There are some places in this country that are just too extraordinary to drill, and the Arctic Refuge is one of them – Rep. Payne needs to hear from you before this important vote.Please call Rep. -at (202) 225-3436 today and ask him to vote against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and HR 7 the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (also known as the Transportation bill.) Where is the petition for this? http://bowgiscu.com [url=http://kpwstcgxb.com]kpwstcgxb[/url] [link=http://omjtoklmyye.com]omjtoklmyye[/link]
      Posted by Janaina on 07/05/2015
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