Student Life

UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Protesting in D.C. leads to arrest, but student is proud of environmental work

Chloe Gleichman’s arrest is something she is proud of.

Gleichman, a Saline sophomore, was arrested on Aug. 29 in Washington, D.C. in front of the White House along with a group of other protesters for refusing to disperse.

She was part of a group protesting a pipeline that would run from Canadian province Alberta to Texas, transporting oil collected from tar sands, a source of petroleum which has seen a rapid growth in interest.

The group stood outside with signs while singing songs during the somber protest, she said.

“It was a two-week project organized by a famous environmentalist named Bill McKibben to try to pressure Obama not to sign the bill,” Gleichman said.

The name of the protested pipeline is Keystone XL, and the president should make a decision about it by the end of the year, Gleichman said.

“They gave us three warnings before they arrested us,” she said. “The women were arrested first. We were handcuffed, patted down aggressively and thrown in the back of a police van.”

Gleichman was fined and released. The first wave of protesters arrested spent three nights in jail, she said.

“It was a very moving experience being around these people of all ages,” Gleichman said. “There was an 80-year-old woman in the car next to me who could barely get into the police van.”

Gleichman said the tar sands are about three times more pollutive than regular oils, and the pipeline would run through a huge number of aquifers that supply water to millions of Americans.

“The company that built Keystone 1, similar to the one they’re proposing now, said the Keystone 1 would break down once every seven years, which is unacceptable already,” Gleichman said. “It has actually broken 12 times in the past year.”

She said she would go back and do it all again, and the incident in August would not be her last arrest for civil disobedience.

“Environmental problems are going to be an issue whether we like it or not,” Gleichman said. “To stand up for the Earth is crucial for our health and survival. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather fight for.”

Director of the Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems Tom Rohrer said a number of groups were involved in the protest, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace.

“I’m proud of Ms. Gleichman for having these strong beliefs and for taking a stand on an issue that’s very important to her,” Rohrer said.

But shutting down the pipeline wouldn’t do any good, Rohrer said.

“I think the protest is off the mark,” Rohrer said. “If that pipeline is canceled, it will be built somewhere else instead. The group should be protesting in Canada and putting pressure on the Canadian government.”

Rohrer said the real problem is why extracting the tar sands is profitable in the first place.

“The more oil prices go up, the more profitable it is to rip up the Canadian prairies for the thick, corrosive tar sands,” Rohrer said. “People need to change their lifestyles to make the demand less for this oil. Carpool. Ride your bike places, instead. Advocate for better public transportation.”

Rohrer said people who want to help the planet can make a positive change in their lives by changing their use of unsustainable fossil fuels.

“I’m not trying to take away jobs or ruin our economy,” Gleichman said. “I’m fighting for everybody, even the people who are the oil company lobbyists. They need to breathe clean air just like the rest of us.”

20 Comments

  1. StandingInSolidarity says:

    I am very proud of Chloe’s and I’m extremely proud that there are people in the environmental movement that are willing to risk arrest for this cause.
    I would argue that this action, and hopefully shutting down this pipeline, will spread the word to more people. Not only will it stop the pollutants from the tar sands oil from getting into our water and air, but it will educate more people on the issue. With more education in the movement more people will be likely to ride their bikes places and switch off fossil fuels. Before this action the general public didn’t know about this issue, but we are at a point where because of people like Chloe I have seen countless references to this issue in outside stories and I’ve even heard people casually talking about it while walking down the street.

    Everything about this action is inspiring and anyone who advocates that stopping this pipeline won’t do anything isn’t looking at the bigger picture.  Take a look deeper and you’ll understand the power of a peaceful protest. 

  2. Oh academia, you continue to amuse me. 

  3. My goodness, what a hero!!!! NOT.  Gee some left loon who would rather have a criminal record when (if) she graduates.  CMU is SO proud…..what an embarrassment.

    IF you want to be truly non-dependent on Mideast petroluem then the US MUST use EVERY energy source available on this continent……solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas, domestic oil AND Canadian oil.  If you are not prepared to do that, then you are NOT serious about energy policy. 

  4. Michmediaperson says:

    We needed to build this pipeline yesterday.

    Heck with the EPA and all these socialist groups.

    This will create thousands upon thousands of jobs and help bring our gas prices down.  We won’t have to be send Obama’s muslim friends so much money for oil.

    I would have put these protesters in a tent city type setting for 6 months, baloney sandwiches everyday for their crime.

    Help solve environmental problems?  Let’s take away Algore’s private jet, the Kennedy family’s private jets and make all socialists fly commercial.

    If Obama wants to create jobs, this pipeline is job creator number 1.  Then, we need to go up to Alaska and drill everywhere for oil.  Start with ANWR and go from there.

    Drill everywhere in North Dakota, Colorado, anywhere there’s oil.  If there’s oil in the Great Lakes, we’re drilling.  If there’s oil in any lake inland in Michigan, we’d be drilling.

    Drill, Baby, Drill!!!!!!!!

    By the way, how much air pollution was created by all these protesters going to Washington????
    Ride your bike????  In January, in Mt. Pleasant?????  

    I’m not carpooling unless I’m carpooling with Jenny McCarthy or Jen Anniston.  That’s the only exception.  Ride a bike?  No!!!!   Public transportation?  Waste of money.

    This pipeline is a shovel-ready job to help the millions unemployed.

    Let’s start tomorrow!!!!

  5. Scratched Table says:

    Actually, the company TransCanada that will be backing the pipeline has specifically stated in an exclusive report that the pipeline will increase gas prices in the Midwest as the oil will be diverted to the Gulf, and then sold back at higher prices. In addition to this, jobs will NOT be increased by implementing the pipeline because it will only create short-term jobs and many of those will be mechanized shortly after being created. Also, sometimes working within the current infrastructure is necessary to create mass positive change (I.e. Protestors driving to Washington). If you did your research you would already know these statements are true… Just saying.

    ** P.S. Al Gore is two words.

    • Michmediaperson says:

      Rush Limbaugh says Algore and says it with no break.

      Incidentally, if Barack Hussein Obama decides not to run for re-election, I have a friend who has a touch Democrat source who says Algore is ready to run for president.  I don’t believe it but Algore is keeping that option open from what I understand.

      Two other questions:
      1. Did this student get unexcused or excused absences from the liberal CMU professors to be in Washington, instead of the classroom.

      2. If I make a protest sign to build the pipeline and march outside of Warriner Hall, will CM LIFE do a story on Michmediaperson?  Sort of equal time and balance since we need this pipeline and drilling all over the country.

      Obama and his silly green garbage, windmills, solar that no one wants.

      • Unexcused….it’s called sacrifice.  

        • Michmediaperson says:

          Open Eyes—if you live in Michigan, do you drive a car?  If so, this group is telling you not to.

          Do you ride a bicycle around in December, January, February????

          If not, why aren’t you??

          CM LIFE should ask this gal if she rides a bike to and from Saline for Christmas Break.  Does she ride a bike around the CMU campus in January and February?

          Good environmentalists should be walking, riding bikes, don’t use heat or AC.  Did she carpool to Washington?

          • Rather than legitimize your comments with a response that directly addresses their absurdity,  I will make a few statements of my own.

            First of all, I’m not going to assume anything about said gal in this article as I have not personally spoken to her.  If one is going to make accusations about her, perhaps they should seek her out and talk to her before doing so.

            Secondly, oil is a nonrenewable resource meaning it will run out, so eventually we’re going to have to base our energy economy off of something else.  

            Lastly, “good environmentalists” know that they, too, must consume as creatures of the earth, so they do not advocate for a zero-use society; rather, they advocate for sustainable use of our resources – in ways that do not threaten the air, land, and water.

      • Scratched Table says:

        If the best you have is to merely spell out Barack Hussein Obama’s full name as some sort of evidence then you have a long time coming.

        I also enjoy how you have a choice “friend” with the inside scoop. Just snazzy.

  6. Scratched Table says:

    Actually, the company TransCanada that will be backing the pipeline has specifically stated in an exclusive report that the pipeline will increase gas prices in the Midwest as the oil will be diverted to the Gulf, and then sold back at higher prices. In addition to this, jobs will NOT be increased by implementing the pipeline because it will only create short-term jobs and many of those will be mechanized shortly after being created. Also, sometimes working within the current infrastructure is necessary to create mass positive change (I.e. Protestors driving to Washington). If you did your research you would already know these statements are true… Just saying.

    ** P.S. Al Gore is two words.

  7. Wow, how great that someone from Central went to this!  I’m glad that there are people making sure that in the future, our earth will still be healthy and we, in turn, will be too!  I have relatives in Canada where the tar sands are and I’ve seen first hand the effects of this unethical oil.  The tar sands are the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen and the companies in charge of them seem to show no mercy in what they are willing to do to extract this oil…it’s polluting rivers, destroying forests, getting people sick…it’s just nasty.  In response to some of the comments below, I’d just like to say that before you condemn the actions of others, think about what’s really at stake here – yeah, everyone loves jobs, but everyone also needs water and air and whether people admit it or not, part of what makes life so great is the fact that there’s natural beauty.  And let me tell you, the tar sands are destroying that.  

    What kind of world do you want to live in?  

    One where the land has been decimated?   I think not.

  8. Wow, how great that someone from Central went to this!  I’m glad that there are people making sure that in the future, our earth will still be healthy and we, in turn, will be too!  I have relatives in Canada where the tar sands are and I’ve seen first hand the effects of this unethical oil.  The tar sands are the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen and the companies in charge of them seem to show no mercy in what they are willing to do to extract this oil…it’s polluting rivers, destroying forests, getting people sick…it’s just nasty.  In response to some of the comments below, I’d just like to say that before you condemn the actions of others, think about what’s really at stake here – yeah, everyone loves jobs, but everyone also needs water and air and whether people admit it or not, part of what makes life so great is the fact that there’s natural beauty.  And let me tell you, the tar sands are destroying that.  

    What kind of world do you want to live in?  

    One where the land has been decimated?   I think not.

  9. Perhaps those decrying those “liberal universities” should consider that this student is doing something ultimately very conservative…ensuring caution, future analysis, and responsibility before we undertake a huge, irreversible program.  Indeed the Mideast is a human rights crisis, and we ought to be free of them.  In my view, let’s put the money in alternative energy:  solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, nuclear powers.  Create jobs as well as creating new and better technologies that can maintain the US’s status as an innovative, cutting-edge nation.

    • Michmediaperson says:

      You know what we should do.  Turn off the electricity on the CMU campus and go 100 percent solar, wind, geothermal, windmill, etc.

      So, if it doesn’t work, everyone will be freezing this winter in the classrooms and dorms.  Maybe, then we oil-loving, coal-loving capitalists will prove our point.

      By the way, I agree with you on nuclear.  Decades ago, Ralph Nader and the environmentalist wackos stopped the building of more nuclear plants.  They claimed they would blow up.  Still waiting for the plants to blow up.

    • Michmediaperson says:

      You know what we should do.  Turn off the electricity on the CMU campus and go 100 percent solar, wind, geothermal, windmill, etc.

      So, if it doesn’t work, everyone will be freezing this winter in the classrooms and dorms.  Maybe, then we oil-loving, coal-loving capitalists will prove our point.

      By the way, I agree with you on nuclear.  Decades ago, Ralph Nader and the environmentalist wackos stopped the building of more nuclear plants.  They claimed they would blow up.  Still waiting for the plants to blow up.

      • Scratched Table says:

        Do you just sit on your computer all day to comment on articles and other people’s thoughts?

      • Even you realize that this is an inaccurate representation of how to transition to a clean energy economy.  No one is advocating this black-and-white, all-or-nothing transition, rather, a rapid phasing out of fuels that are making people sick, heating our earth, polluting our air, poisoning our water etc.  

        When the air that we breath becomes air that we choke and the water that we drink becomes water we gag, maybe then, we forward-thinking, life-loving humans will prove our point.  

        But then it will be too late.  

  10. Thank You Ms G…. from Battle Creek Michigan the site of the largest tar sand oil spill in the midwest… feel free to send any body not educated on this subject down here… I will be glad to give them a tour….

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