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Dozens more arrested in US over pipeline protest
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 21, 2011

Fresh arrests Sunday marked a second day of protests at the White House by environmental activists who said they were staging a two-week sit-in in a bid to halt a proposed oil pipeline.

Demonstrators from the Tar Sands Action group and a coalition of local and national groups are hoping a campaign of civil disobedience will push President Barack Obama to deny a permit for a new pipeline stretching from Canada to the US Gulf Coast.

"Saturday's arrests and overnight jailings are already lighting a fire," Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said Sunday.

"More people are now inspired, determined, and committed to join," said Tidwell in a statement from jail, after he was arrested Saturday.

Tar Sands said on its website that 50 people were arrested Sunday at a sit-in outside the White House front fence on Lafayette Square when they declined a request by US Park Police to move. They joined the more than 50 people detained a day earlier.

The Park Police could not be reached for comment on the arrests.

The action is designed to pressure Obama to deny a permit for the $13 billion Keystone XL pipeline project due to stretch across 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers).

The US government plans to decide by year's end whether to issue a permit for the proposed pipeline stretching from Canada to Texas.

The Keystone XL pipeline proposed by TransCanada would begin in Alberta in western Canada and pass through the US states of Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma before ending up in Texas at the Gulf of Mexico.

Tidwell said that "on Monday alone over 20 DC-area doctors, lawyers and students will be going to jail to chant, sing, and stop the pipeline. They'll be joining Nebraska ranchers and others nationwide. Word is spreading."

Many of the weekend protesters wore pro-Obama buttons, but said they would not support his reelection if his administration was not prepared to more urgently back a green agenda.

Obama is currently on a 10-day vacation at Martha's Vineyard, a posh resort island on the East Coast.

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WWF salutes S.Africa's extended freeze on shale gas drilling
Cape Town (AFP) Aug 18, 2011 - The World Wide Fund (WWF) on Sunday welcomed South Africa's extended freeze on shale gas prospecting, saying more investigation was needed on the controversial process.

"This is an important and welcome example of leadership from government," said Saliem Fakir, head of WWF South Africa's Living Planet unit.

"It is critical that we consider shale gas with caution and carefully evaluate what is happening elsewhere in the world so that we can learn from these experiences."

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell is among several companies wanting to explore for shale gas in the vast central Karoo, using hydraulic fracturing known as "fracking", which has raised environmental fears.

Mining minister Susan Shabangu on Thursday announced a six month extension to an existing moratorium, saying interim study reports had been sent back for further details and that the public would also be consulted.

"WWF views the extension as a wise step given that there is currently insufficient, independently-reviewed scientific data around the environmental consequences of shale-gas exploration and extraction to support a decision to proceed with exploration in South Africa," said the group in a statement.

"In addition, several economic and social arguments in favour of shale-gas extraction remain, at best, weakly supported," it said.

Detailed and objective investigation was needed, WFF added, citing concerns over the impacts on water resources and establishing the process's carbon footprint.

Seen as a means to release untapped energy sources, fracking pumps water, sand and chemicals deep underground at high pressure to free gas from rock, but has sparked controversy in several countries.

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Dozens arrested in US as pipeline protest kicks off
Washington (AFP) Aug 20, 2011
Dozens were arrested at the White House Saturday as protesters began a two-week sit-in expected to draw over 2,000 opponents of a proposed pipeline from Canada to the US Gulf Coast. "President (Barack) Obama can stop this climate-killing disaster with the stroke of a pen," said Bill McKibben, spokesman for Tar Sands Action, the environmental group that organized the protest. Tar Sands said o ... read more

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