Second Press Release:

February 27, 2014

XL Dissent Gains Momentum: Over 1,000 Youth Expected at White House Rally, More than 300 Will Risk Arrest in Act of Civil Disobedience

Contact: Jamie Henn,, 415-890-3350

Washington, DC –As the fight over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline seems be accelerating towards a final decision, protestors are turning up the heat on President Obama to reject the project with a major, youth-led protest at the White House this weekend called “XL Dissent.”

More than 1,000 students and youth from across the country have signed up to take part in a march to the White House from Georgetown University, where President Obama laid out his “climate test” for the pipeline this summer. Once there, more than 300 youth are expected to risk arrest in a sit-in,  the largest youth act of civil disobedience at the White House in a generation.

The young people represent over 50 colleges and universities and are taking action in solidarity with groups on the frontlines of dirty energy expansion and climate impacts, such as First Nations and refining communities, ranchers and farmers along the route, and those fighting tar sands expansion in Michigan and beyond.

Press are invited to interview students at the Thurgood Marshall Center on Saturday, from 1:00-4:00pm, or on Sunday at either the rally beginning at Georgetown at 10:00am or at the White House rally beginning at 11:30am.

Here is a full schedule of the weekend’s events:

Saturday, March 1
Location: Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th St NW, Washington, DC

12:00-4:00pm: Fossil Fuel Divestment Meetup

Hundreds of students from across the country will come together to share strategies and tactics for the growing fossil fuel divestment movement that has spread to over 300 colleges and universities.

5:00pm-9:00pm: Nonviolent Direct Action Training (closed to press)

Students will take part in a NVDA training to prepare for Sunday’s sit-in at the White House.

Sunday, March 2
Location: Georgetown University to Lafayette Park & White House

10:00am: Rally at Georgetown University’s Red Square to kick-off the day’s events

10:20-11:30am: March from Georgetown to Lafayette Park

The march will begin at Georgetown University, head East on O St, South on Wisconsin, East on M St., East on Penn, and East on H St. to Lafayette Park.

10:30am: Rally Outside Secretary of State John Kerry’s House

Youth will rally outside Sec. Kerry’s house on O St. with a banner that reads “Sec. Kerry: Don’t Tar Your Legacy” to push him to recommend that President Obama reject the pipeline.

11:30am-12:15pm: Rally at Lafayette Park

Speakers will include youth leaders and representatives from communities that would be impacted by the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as those on the frontlines of other dirty energy developments and the climate crisis.

12:15pm-1:00pm: White House Sit-in

At least 300 youth are expected to risk arrest in sit-in on the sidewalk in front of the White House fence.


Student Spokespeople:

Nick Stracco, Tulane University

Nick is a senior at Tulane University and is originally from Chicago, Illinois. He’s been a climate activist for the last 3 years and hopes to be an environmental educator (and continue his activism) after college.

Miles Goodrich, Bowdoin College

Miles is a junior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and is originally from Connecticut. He wants to become an environmental activist and strategist.

Aly Johnson-Kurts, Smith College

Aly is a would-be sophomore at Smith College who is taking a year off to fight the climate crisis as the State Divestment Organizer for 350Vermont. She is studying to be an ecological economist. Aly was born and raised in Vermont.

Maria Langholz, Macalester College

Maria is a senior at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Maria grew up in Wisconsin and hopes to work at a hospital system in Minnesota doing sustainability work after graduation.

Ori Gutin, University of Maryland

Ori is a sophomore at University of Maryland and was born in the state. He wants to be an environmental educator after graduation.

Michael Greenberg, Columbia University

Michael is a sophomore at Columbia University, has interned with organizations like and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and founded Tar Sands Students.

First Press Release:

WASHINGTON, DC – Hundreds of students and young people are expected to risk arrest in an act of civil disobedience at the White House this March 2 to pressure President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

The sit-in at the White House will be the largest act of civil disobedience by young people in the recent history of the environmental movement. The protest, known as “XL Dissent,” is meant to send a clear signal to President Obama that the base that helped elect him sees Keystone XL as a decision that will define his entire legacy.

“Obama was the first President I voted for, and I want real climate action and a rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Nick Stracco, a Senior at Tulane University. “The people that voted him into office have made it absolutely clear what we want, and that’s to reject Keystone XL.”

Keystone XL has become an iconic fight for young people across the country, many of whom are involved in local campaigns to help stop the pipeline or the broader fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has spread to over 300 universities across the United States.

“As young people, the Keystone XL pipeline assures irreversible environmental destruction,” said Aly Johnson-Kurts, who is taking a gap year from Smith College to help fight the climate crisis. “We stand in solidarity with First Nations communities and other groups on the front lines who have been fighting Tar Sands development for years, and call on President Obama to reject this pipeline to prevent climate catastrophe from defining our future.”

The “XL Dissent” protest on March 2 will begin with a march from Georgetown University to the White House. After a rally in Lafayette Square, hundreds of students and young people are expected to risk arrest at the White House fence. The day before the protest, students will meet for a non-violent direct action training and fossil fuel divestment conference.

The sit-in at the White House has been endorsed by a wide range of pipeline opponents. co-founder Bill McKibben said, “As the fight to stop KXL enters its final stages, it’s truly inspiring to see young people at the forefront. This pipeline is scheduled to last 40 years – right through the prime of their lives. President Obama needs to look them in the face.”

Youth environmentalist and grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, Conor Kennedy said, “The fight to stop KXL will be one of the defining battles of our generation. A victory here will mark the close of the old carbon era, and the start of the new energy revolution—our revolution. America’s youth now have the chance to take up the torch, and light a new fire.”

Media Hits:

Photo courtesy of Tar Sands Action

The Nation – Youth Plan Mass Civil Disobedience to Protest Keystone XL

Iowa State Daily – Keystone XL Pipeline protestors urge Obama to veto project plan

Washington Post – Environmental firm writing U.S. Keystone report studied pipelines for landowners

Common Dreams – Bill McKibben: We ‘Don’t Trust’ Obama on Climate Change

Grist – Climate Movement on the Move

Bill Moyers & Company – Youth Plan Mass Civil Disobedience to Protest Keystone XL – XL Dissent: Activists Speak Out for Clean Energy, Mother Earth

Common Dreams – ‘XL Dissent’: Students Plan Mass Direct Action on Obama’s Doorstep

The Nation – What is XL Dissent?

Democracy Now! – Bill McKibben on Fight Against Keystone XL, Fossil Fuel Divestment and Obama’s Failures (start video at 45:30)

The Washington Free Beacon – Environmental Activists Plan Illegal White House Demonstration

The Miami Herald – Environmental movement to test its muscle in keystone final stretch

System Change Not Climate Change – Join the Ecosocialist Contingent at XL Dissent on March 2nd!

Northfield News – Carleton College student activists help plan ‘XL Dissent’ rally in Washington DC – Bringing XL dissent to Washington

Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network – Join XL Dissent and the DC Divestment Meet-Up!

Fossil Free – Building a Bold Student Resistance Together

EcoWatch – A Student’s Take on Why It’s Imperative to Risk Arrest Protesting Keystone XL Pipeline

Yale Daily News – Yalies face arrest in protest

Huffington Post – Youth Plan Major White House Protest Against Keystone XL this Weekend

New York Times – No Conflict of Interest Found in Favorable Review of Keystone Pipeline

Columbia Spectator – Students heading to Washington this weekend to protest Keystone XL pipeline

Common Dreams – Students to Obama: If You Won’t Lead on Climate, We Will

Georgetown Voice – Keystone XL Pipeline student protest to begin in Red Square

Daily Californian – Youth have an obligation to reject Keystone XL

Democracy Now! – Keystone XL Dissent Protest Planned for Washington (start at 9:45)

MSNBC – Approveing Keytone XL will turn off young voters

Post-Action Media

Bill Moyers & Company – Hundreds of Students Arrested Outside White House at Keystone XL Protest

POLITICO – Hundreds Arrested at White House Keystone Protest

Huffington Post – Hundreds Arrested at White House Protesting Keystone XL

RT – Hundreds Arrested at Keystone XL White House sit-in protest

CNN – Keystone pipeline foes create ‘human oil spill’ at rally; hundreds arrested

Al Jazeera – Hundreds arrested in Keystone pipeline protests outside White House

The Guardian – Keystone XL protesters arrested after strapping selves to White House fence

Fox News – Keystone pipeline protesters arrested outside White House

Reuters – Hundreds of Keystone protesters arrested at White House

Think Progress –  PHOTOS: Hundreds Arrested in Protest of Keystone XL Pipeline

Salon –  Keystone XL Dissent: Scenes from a massive student protest

The Hill – Hundreds of Keystone protestors arrested outside White House

Democracy Now! – XL Dissent: 398 Youth Arrested at Anti-Keystone XL Pipeline Protest at White House

MSNBC – Mega money moguls support Keystone XL 

Star Tribune – College students arrested outside White House while protesting Keystone XL oil pipeline

Boston Globe – Why I Got Arrested at the White House

EcoWatch – Breaking: 400 youths Arrested at White House Protesting Keystone XL Pipeline

Huffington Post – Hundreds of Students Arrested at White House Protesting Keystone XL

Think Progress – PHOTOS: Hundreds Arrested In Protest Of Keystone XL Pipeline

The Washington Post – Hundreds of Keystone XL Opponents Arrested at White House