Canadian actors Margot Kidder and Tantoo Cardinal among 60 arrested at White House pipeline protest

Tantoo Cardinal and Margot Kidder at the White House protest. Photo: Milan Ilnyckyj/TarSandsAction.org

WASHINGTON, DC - The iconic Canadian actors Margot Kidder and a Tantoo Cardinal were arrested Tuesday morning at 11:30 a.m. in Washington, D.C. as part of an ongoing sit-in at the White House to pressure President Barack Obama to deny the permit for a massive new tar sands oil pipeline.

"I can't think of a more important place to be," said Kidder, who is best known for her role as Lois Lane in four of the original Superman movies. "President Obama has the chance here to do the right thing and stop this pipeline. I'm here to help make sure he does it."

"It's an honor to be here with so many people from across the U.S.," said Tantoo Cardinal, the iconic indigenous actor best known for her roles in Legends of the Fall, Dances with Wolves,and Smoke Signals. Cardinal was born in the capitol of the tar sands, Ft. McMurray, Alberta. "This is about protecting our land, our water, and our climate. The tar sands destruction has to stop."

Cardinal and Kidder gathered with a crowd of over 150 people in Lafeyette Square park this morning to hear from environmental author, Bill McKibben, who is spearheading the protests. In an effort to "deter future participants," the DC Park Police had held McKibben and 55 other participants from last Saturday's demonstration in jail for two nights before dropping all charges and releasing them on Monday afternoon. Sunday and Monday's protestors were released after being arrested, taken to a Park Police station, and paying $100 fine for "disobeying a police order."

"When we were in jail, the only thing we wanted was more company," said McKibben to a cheering crowd Tuesday morning. "Your work has helped make this the most important environmental question President Obama has to make before the 2012 election. And we'll be here every day this week and next to make sure he makes the right call."

On Wednesday, a group of 20 Gulf Coast residents will join the White House protest to try and prevent another BP style disaster in America's heartland, over one of the country's largest sources of fresh drinking water.

President Obama will decide later this year on TransCanada's permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which will send 900,000 barrels a day of the world's dirtiest oil to US refineries, allowing further development of the Alberta tar sands. The pipeline would pass through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Mining oil from tar sands creates three times more carbon emissions than conventional oil extraction.

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