A small group of protesters occupied the ATM lobby and a small space on the sidewalk in front of the TD Bank branch at 1489 P Street NW Tuesday morning. The group was protesting TD Bank’s funding of the Keystone XL Pipeline. One of the group members said there was no organization behind the protest, although some of them had come from the Occupy DC movement.
DC Police were on hand in full force, and the 1400 block of P Street was closed to traffic at 7:30 am Tuesday morning. By 8 am, the two protesters inside the ATM lobby and the sidewalk protester — who was chained to a 300-pound chunk of cement — had been removed by police.
The protesters were giving media interviews and talking to early morning foot commuters at 15th and P NW. Police on the scene said no arrests were made. There was no representative of TD Bank on hand to confirm that the bank was not pressing charges against the protesters.
The planned fourth phase of the Keystone Pipeline has yet to receive final approval from the U.S. Government, and is the subject of considerable controversy; it is opposed by a number of major environmental groups, including the Sierra Club.
According to TransCanada, “The Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposed 1,179-mile (1,897 km), 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline beginning in Hardisty, Alta., and extending south to Steele City, Neb. This pipeline is a critical infrastructure project for the energy security of the United States and for strengthening the American economy.”
As Wikipedia explains, “The Keystone Pipeline System is a pipeline system to transport petroleum products from Canada and the northern United States “primarily to refineries in the Gulf Coast” of Texas.(USSD SEIS March 1, 2013 p.ES-2). The products to be shipped include synthetic crude oil (synbit) and dilbit (diluted bitumen) from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) in Alberta, Canada, and Bakken synthetic crude oil and light crude oil produced from the Williston Basin (Bakken) region in Montana and North Dakota. Two phases of the project are in operation, a third, from Oklahoma to the Texas Gulf coast, is under construction and the fourth is awaiting U.S. government approval as of mid-March 2013.”