Mass Arrests in White House Protest Over Use of Eminent Domain For Canadian Oil Pipeline

We are kind of surprised that this news item has not received the attention it deserves in the general press, but according to the Huffington Post of August 23rd, it appears that 126 people protesting in front of the White House, have been arrested. They were protesting the large-scale eminent domain takings for a pipeline right-of-way by TransCanada XL pipeline, running across the United States, from tar sands deposits in Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.  (Lucia Graves, Keystone XL Pipeline Arrests Mount As Climate Activists Push Obama, HuffingtonPost, August 23, 2011)

While protests against eminent domain takings are not news, news of mass arrests accompanying them, certainly are — at least in this country. The controversy over this particular right-of-way has been simmering in Montana and Nebraska, but this is the first time we have seen it spread to Washington, D.C. and the first news of mass arrests of protesters.

Chances are, this is not the end of this controversy, so keep an eye out for further news.

Follow up. About four days after the HuffingtonPost story, the nation’s journalistic biggies have come alive. Today’s New York Times has a front-page story on this subject (John M. Broder and Clifford Kraus, An Oil Pipeline From Canada Wins Support, N.Y. Times, August 27, 2011, p. A1) — click here. Buried in it is the terse mention of the fact that 400 protesters were arrested, suggesting that the HuffingtonPost figure of 126 may be understated. Why the NY Times is playing down news of these arrrests — as it obviously is — is not clear to us.

Also, today’s Wall Street Journal comments editorially on the pipeline and the environmentalists’ opposition to it, but save for noting in passing that environmentalists feel the Obama administration has betrayed them, and that this has led to protests and arrests in front of the White House, it provides no figures on how many protesters were arrested. Editorial, The Politics of a Pipeline, Wall St. Jour., Aug 27-28/2011, at p. A12.

Then there is The Nation which reports that only 70 “activists” have been arrested. Click here. So maybe we better reserve judgment on that one, and ponder the verity that you can’t believe everything you read in newspapers.