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Locals join protest of pipeline

GREENFIELD — When thousands rallied in Washington, D.C., Sunday to protest a proposed pipeline, a hundred or so area residents added their voices to the call.

Opponents say the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would damage the environments it passes through on the route from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska and eventually to the Gulf Coast, and contribute disproportionately to climate change by promoting the mining, refinement and use of tar sands oil.

The proposal requires a presidential permit, and Sunday’s gathering of between 35,000 and 50,000, depending on estimates, urged President Barack Obama to deny that permission.

“We braved very cold weather but the future of the planet is at stake so I’m very glad that I did it,” said Allen Davis, 66, of Greenfield, reached Sunday on one of two buses that left from Greenfield Saturday morning.

“More than 35,000 people told President Obama and the nation that it is absolutely critical to say no to the Keystone XL Pipeline because it is the dirtiest fossil fuel project that could be passed right now, and it will add tremendously to the overheating of the planet,” Davis said.

Student Jeremy Jordan, 28, of Greenfield, said he had to choose between the rally and a permaculture class.

“I just had to be a part of this, I felt like I couldn’t just not go,” Jordan said.

Originally from Nebraska, one of the states that would be directly impacted, Jordan called the plan ridiculous and said it was great to see the number who turned out.

Sandra Boston, also of Greenfield, said the group heard from environmentalist Bill McKibben, president of one of the rally’s main organizing bodies, 350.org, speakers from the Sierra Club and several female Native American tribal leaders, all of whom stressed the idea that Obama’s legacy hangs in the balance with the decision.

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