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Ohio Students Tell Obama: 'Stop Dirty Energy Disasters!'

As president pushes 'All of the Above' strategy, organizers say fracking and tar sands part of problem, not solution

Common Dreams staff

Student gathered at Ohio State University in Columbus on Thursday to protest Obama's 'All of the Above' energy strategy. (Photo: Ohio 350)

Students rallied at Ohio State University this afternoon to greet President Obama with a retort to his "All of the Above" energy policy.  "What does Obama mean by 'All of the Above'?" the students asked. If "everything is on the table," they argue, that includes "toxic, climate cooking technologies" like hydrofracking and trumpeting of Canadian tar sands.  The stop in Ohio follows a morning speech by the president in Cushing, Oklahoma where Obama announced his endorsement of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.

"We need to show President Obama that Ohioans won't stand for an energy policy that poisons our water and dooms us to further climate disaster," declared a message on the student group's facebook page. "We'll greet the President when he arrives Thursday with a boisterous rally demanding he put a stop to fracking and projects like Keystone XL."

"Young voters in Ohio turned out in record number to elect President Obama because he stood for climate and clean energy solutions " said Katie McChesney of the Ohio Student Environmental Coalition, "Our generation demands President Obama must stop promoting Keystone XL and fracking."

"I don't know the last time President Obama took a multiple choice exam, but when you have two contradictory options like protecting our climate and increasing our dependence on fossil fuels, 'all of the above' is not a correct answer," said Stuart McIntyre, a student at Ohio State University. "President Obama needs to choose one or the other, because our future as young people depends on it."

“‘All of the above’ is not a particularly coherent energy policy, not if one worries about climate change,” said Bill McKibben, founder of “Burning all the oil you can and then putting up a solar panel is like drinking six martinis at lunch and then downing a VitaminWater. You’re still a drunk—just one with your daily requirement of C and D.”


“We wanted to send President Obama a clear message today: you can either stand with us or with the Big Polluters," said Tony Zancanella, graduate student at the University of Cincinnati, who attended the rally in Columbus. "We want a leader who is brave enough to make hard choices, not just go where the political winds blow. “All-of-the-above” isn’t an energy plan, it’s a cop-out.”

“If the President wants the support of the young people I know, he’s going to have to start talking about global warming. The climate crisis is the biggest threat to our future and yet President Obama doesn’t even mention it. I mean, we’ve set 2,000 new temperature records in the United States this month. The writing is on the wall...” warned Andrew Sidesinger, a Columbus resident, volunteer with 350 Ohio and father of two.

And Alec Johnson, a volunteer with 350 Ohio, was disappointed in Obama's call for more drilling and expanded fracking. "In every place he fracks and drills there’s going to be resistance," he said. "People are sick and tired of these fossil fuel companies coming into our backyards and destroying our communities and environment. We’re going to fight these projects every step of the way, and use these fights to build a movement that can push for change in Ohio, and at the national level as well.”


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