During his visit to Ohio State University this Thursday, climate actvists will push President Obama to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and stop “extreme energy” projects like the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and fracking, a controversial method for extracting natural gas that is threatening the Buckeye State.

Danny Berchenko, 350.org organizer in Ohio, is helping the Ohio Student Environmental Coalition, who are leading the charge with some other amazing youth activists and Keystone XL warriors. Last night, a few of them gathered in Columbus to paint banners, collect signs, and prepare for the President’s visit on Thursday. The protestors will be carrying signs that read “NO KXL” with the Obama logo and “Don’t Frack Ohio.”

“I don’t know the last time President Obama took a multiple choice exam, but when you have two contradictory options like protecting our climate and increasing our dependence on fossil fuels, ‘all of the above’ is not a correct answer,” said Stuart McIntyre, a student at Ohio State University. “President Obama needs to choose one or the other, because our future as young people depends on it.” 

The protest will take place just hours after President Obama’s speech in Cushing, Oklahoma, where he is expected to praise the southern leg of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and trumpet his administration’s commitment to oil and gas development.

“We’re in the middle of the hottest spring week America has ever seen,” said 350.org founder Bill McKibben who has led protests against Keystone XL. “It makes it ironic almost to the point of parody that the president is still lauding pipelines and drilling rigs alongside solar panels and advanced batteries, as if all forms of energy were equally benign.”

The fights against Keystone XL and fracking have helped mobilize an increasingly active grassroots movement across Ohio. Last October, more than 400 students met in Cleveland for Midwest Power Shift, a conference dedicated to mobilizing young climate activists. 

As Bill has said before, while we are determined to defend their Keystone XL victory we’re also looking at ways to go on the offensive, particularly around the issue of fossil fuel subsidies.

“In the end, our politicians tend to follow the wishes of the richest industry on earth,” said Bill. “So we’re going to have to go head on against that industry, and try to take away some of their special privileges.”  


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