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Questioning Katko's vote on Keystone, protesters take to the streets in Syracuse

Ellen Abbott
Protesters outside of Rep. Katko's office in Syracuse.

Local activists took to the streets of Syracuse on Tuesday to urge President Barack Obama to veto legislation to construct the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. The dozen or so protesters made their statement in front of newly-elected Rep. John Katko's office in Syracuse.

Katko, a Republican, was a target of protestors because he was among 238 Republicans and 28 Democrats in the House of Representatives to support construction of the pipeline.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Katko has said he supported it because he believes it would create jobs and enhance American energy security. Protestor Wayne Chauncey of Nedrow believes the oil drawn from the Canadian Tar Sands won't help the U.S.

"It won't be even sold in the United States," Chauncey said. "It's got nothing to do with energy security, absolutely nothing."

Protestors also believe that real long-term job solutions don't come from building a pipeline, but in constructing renewable energy projects involving solar and wind power.

Ursula Rozum of the Syracuse Peace Council expects this won't be the last time the coalition of environmentalists and peace advocates will be at odds with Katko.

"We hope that we can have some dialog and communication with Representative Katko," Rozum said. "The peace council has a pretty long record of being confrontational, but also trying to engage with our representatives. So we didn't want him to take a vote like this and have it go unnoticed. So yeah, he'll be hearing from us."

Rozum explained that the council was discouraged that the Republican voted for the project.

"I guess that's how partisanship works," Rozum said. "You know, Republicans support it, a lot of Democrats don't. But we were disappointed that was one of the first votes he took in Congress."

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.