Keystone Pipeline Critics Back Markey

A group of students, many of whom are affiliated with Divest Harvard—a campaign calling on the University to divest from fossil fuel companies—are encouraging students to vote for U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey in the state’s upcoming primaries for the U.S. Senate race. The students, joining a statewide campaign to elect Markey called Vote No KXL, say they support Markey because he is the only candidate in the race who does not support the extension of the Keystone pipeline.

“Vote No KXL gives us an opportunity to pivot our energy off campus to politicians and creates networks between schools all across the state,” said Alli J. Welton ’15, a member of Divest Harvard and an active protester against the extension. On Monday, a group of students stood outside Annenberg to encourage freshmen to sign up to vote “No KXL, vote Markey.”

The students say the Keystone Pipeline, a multi-billion dollar project that would carry 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast refineries, would include increased carbon dioxide emissions from crude oil and the possibility of spills. The Vote No KXL campaign is supported by 350 Action—the political action arm of the environmental activist group 350.org.

“We are letting people know about the upcoming election, getting them registered to vote, and hopefully getting people to sign on to pledge No KXL,” 350.org representative Forrest F. Carroll said of the campaign.

350.org, an organization founded by environmental activist Bill E. McKibben ’82, a former Crimson president, has worked with students in numerous other schools in the Boston area including MIT, Tufts, Boston University, Boston College, and Northeastern University to encourage students to pledge.

“We are using this campaign as much as possible to get environmental issues on everybody’s mind,” Carroll said.

According to Carroll, “We expect a very low turnout this election so every vote counts much more. A lot of students at other schools don’t know that they can vote in this election.”

On Monday, students had collected over 30 signatures and will continue to campaign until April 10, which is the last day to register to vote.

“It’s an important issue, and I want to be able to give time to that and make a difference,” said Taonga R. Leslie ’15, a student working on rallying support for No KXL.

—Staff writer Indrani G. Das can be reached at idas@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @IndraniGDas.

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