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About two dozen protestors organized by climate change activist group SanDiego350.org gathered outside the Loews Coronado Bay Resort today (April 17) as the American Petroleum Institute concluded its 2-day 2013 Pipeline Conference, billed by promoters as “the ‘go-to’ event for technical content, networking and the showcasing of new and existing technology and products” in the industry.

Speakers from a handful of groups urged the activist community to redouble pressure on the Obama administration to reject the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that would carry diluted Canadian tar sands oil, known as bitumen and similar in makeup to the chemicals contained in the Exxon Mobil-owned Pegasus pipeline that burst in Arkansas last month. The groups say they’re upset not just because of the environmental danger from energy-intensive methods of extracting, transporting, and processing tar sands into usable products, but at what they say are false claims lodged by pipeline proponents.

“The American Petroleum Institute has spent millions lobbying Congress and funding candidates to subsidize and facilitate ever more oil and gas production,” says SanDiego350.org spokeswoman Masada Disenhouse. “They have misinformed the American people by greatly exaggerating the numbr of jobs the Keystone pipeline would produce and ignoring the massive impact it would have on our climate.”

Martha Sullivan of Women Occupy San Diego, a delegate to last weekend’s California Democratic Party State Convention, read a resolution passed there condemning the Keystone project and urging Obama to withhold approval.

Jean Costa, of the Sierra Club’s San Diego chapter, noted that the Sierra Club lifted a longstanding ban on civil disobedience by its members for a February rally against Keystone, when the Club’s executive director Michael Brune was arrested along with dozens of other protestors.

“Why the radical change in policy? Because the Sierra Club realizes that if tar sands oil is allowed to continue to flow, life as we know it will never be the same,” Costa charged.

Hugh Moore of the [Green Party of San Diego] continued to pile on, saying that “approving the Keystone pipeline will mean that President Obama has given up on trying to stavilize the climate and protect the American people from the impacts of climate change.”

The public comment period on the proposed Keystone pipeline closes April 22, though no date has been set for Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to announce a final decision on whether to allow the project to move forward.

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