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Monday August 22, 2011 | 08:27 AM

Mainer and environmental activist Andy Burt of Edgecomb was among those arrested as part of a protest in front of the White House Sunday against the proposed Tar Sands Keystone pipeline that would stretch from Alberta, Canada to Texas.

Burt, a consultant on climate change and energy to several Maine organizations, including Maine Council of Churches, says she participated in the act of civil disobedience – Sunday was the second day of a planned two week slate of protests in Washington – because the tar sands “is the second largest pool of carbon on the planet and many say that its development would essentially mean ‘game over’ for climate change mitigation.”

Burt, 66, says that the demonstrators are hoping the protest in front of the White House will help persuade President Obama to not approve the project as in the United State’s national interest.

Burt said via email and a phone interview this morning that she was one of three Mainers arrested Sunday and that other Mainers plan to be part of the protest in coming days. After being arrested, with about a dozen protestors, for failure to obey a lawful order to cease the protest, Burt was taken to the headquarters of the U.S. Park Police, where she was processed, paid a $100 fine and was released.

“We hope that our witness and letters from those whom we represent (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) will give him the courage to stand up to Big Oil and Canadian pressure and lobbying within his own government and say ‘No,’” Burt said.

Tar sands oil, as much as 700,000 barrels a day, would be pumped through the pipeline by TransCanada to oil refineries on the Gulf Coast. Along with the oil, proponents note the project would bring thousands of construction jobs.

The Obama administration is studying the environmental impact and is supposed to soon issue a final report.

Opponents say the pipeline could result in environmentally disastrous spills across its path, and say that tar sands oil has a higher level of carbon dioxide than other types of oil.

Obama is on vacation and not at the White House this week.


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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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