WEST CHESTER TWP. — Protesters staged a human oil spill Wednesday morning outside of House Speaker John Boehner’s office, upset about his support of a proposed continental oil pipeline.
About 30-40 people, many of whom were dressed in black or dark clothing, stood at the door of Boehner’s local office that is located near a strip mall on Cincinnati-Dayton Road. Protesters were denied entrance to the office. Some carried a mock pipeline and later protesters laid on the ground to represent an oil spill. Protesters also had large white fake dollar bills with Boehner’s photograph on one side and oil derricks on the other side.
“By being here today we’re sending a loud and clear message to the speaker and the rest of Congress that the people do not support this pipeline,” said Northside resident Danny Berchenko, 29, an organizer with the environmental group 350.org.
The protest was peaceful and only attracted only two police officers.
The House on Tuesday approved a bill that speeds up construction of the pipeline and extends a payroll tax cut, among other provisions. The pipeline would run from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to Texas oil refineries.
Republicans say work on the pipeline would create 20,000 or more jobs. Opponents say the real figure is more like 3,500.
The House measure would keep 160 million workers from seeing their payroll tax jump on Jan. 1 from this year's 4.2 percent back to its normal level of 6.2 percent – a $1,000 difference for a family making $50,000.
It would also renew expiring extra benefits for long-term jobless people and head off a cut in doctors' Medicare reimbursements, a reduction that could prompt some to stop seeing patients who use that program.