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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Comment sent to Secretary of State John Kerry

The following is a comment I submitted to John Kerry, who will be advising President Obama on his decision about Keystone XL. I wrote this shortly after I returned home from D.C. I was sending out a pre-written message to Secretary Kerry through an activist organization, and there was an option to add in my own words. I ended up writing a small letter while the inspiration from XL Dissent was still coursing through me.

The deadline for the final comment period on KXL was March 7th. According to, over 2 million people submitted comments opposing KXL, outnumbering supporters 2 to 1.

I wanted to share my message to John Kerry with you. Here it is:

Dear Secretary of State John Kerry,

I was one of 398* people who were arrested in Washington, D.C. yesterday, March 2nd, in protest of the Keystone XL Pipeline at the XL Dissent event. This event, mostly comprised of youth and college students like myself, was the biggest youth protest in a generation, with over 1,000 attendees of the event.

I sacrificed my time and money to come to this event on the Sunday before the start of midterms week. I have a lot going on in my life right now, but I went anyway because ensuring that KXL never sees the light of day is more important to me than getting behind on some schoolwork. My professors, who were aware that I might be missing their classes on Monday and getting a little behind on work, were all very supportive of my endeavor anyways. Even now, I am putting off some of my work so I can write you this long and heartfelt message.

Yesterday was the first time I have ever been arrested, and it felt amazing because I was doing it for something I believe in — protecting our planet. The moment I was cuffed and led away to the transportation bus was one of my proudest, and all the while my fellow protesters were cheering for me and thanking me for my action.

As a champion of the climate change issue, I think you know just as well as I do the severe implications the KXL pipeline will have on our environment, so I don't need to repeat them to you here. What I'm asking is that you take those concerns seriously and realize that you need to advise the president to say no if we ever hope to live on a healthy planet. The science is there, and it cannot be ignored.

I think the unprecedented turnout to XL Dissent, as well as previous large scale events such as the Forward on Climate Rally, truly show that the American public is against the KXL Pipeline, and if it is approved the United States government will be directly defying the people's wishes. Our government is supposed to serve the people, not rule them. We must also keep in mind the many poor folks who will be forced out of their homes if this project is approved. No amount of government compensation can make that action justifiable.

I have signed countless petitions and written many messages. I have contacted my officials, I have spread the word to my friends and family and encouraged them to take action. I have protested and been arrested, and I plan to continue to take action in the future, even if it means being arrested again and being kept in jail for much longer than I was on Sunday. I don't know how else to make it clear that I, as a citizen of the United States, do not support the KXL Pipeline.

And, even without your title as Secretary of State, just as a citizen of the United States, I hope you can also see why we can't afford to approve this project.

Thank you for your time. I will be watching the progression of this issue closely.


Faith Meckley
Freshman at Ithaca College
Native to the Finger Lakes Region of New York State

* reported 398 people were arrested. The official count from the Park Police comes to 372.  

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