Conor Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was arrested Wednesday during a climate change rally in Washington, D.C.
The 18-year-old, who is one of Taylor Swift’s many ex-boyfriends, was detained along with his father, actress Daryl Hannah, and several other environmental activists for civil disobedience against the Keystone XL pipeline. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune and 350.org founder Bill McKibben were also among the 48 people arrested.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, said in an emailed statement:
“It’s unfortunate that civil disobedience is the only recourse against a catastrophic and criminal enterprise that will enrich a few while impoverishing the rest of humanity and threatening the future of civilization.”
According to Newsday, Kennedy Jr. served 30 days in jail in 2001 for trespassing as part of a protest against Navy bombing exercises in Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island.
Wednesday’s protest broke a ban the Sierra Club had on civil disobedience. Brune said:
“For the first time in the Sierra Club’s 120-year history, we have joined the ranks of visionaries of the past and present to engage in civil disobedience, knowing that the issue at hand is so critical, it compels the strongest defensible action. We cannot afford to allow the production, transport, export and burning of the dirtiest oil on Earth via the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama must deny the pipeline and take decisive steps to address climate disruption, the most significant issue of our time.”
Similarly, McKibben said:
“We really shouldn’t have to be put on handcuffs to stop KXL — our nation’s leading climate scientists have told us it’s dangerous folly, and all the recent Nobel Peace laureates have urged us to set a different kind of example for the world, so the choice should be obvious. But given the amount of money on the other side, we’ve had to spend our bodies, and we’ll probably have to spend them again.”
The Keystone XL pipeline would funnel synthetic crude oil from Canada to various locations in the United States, and has faced several lawsuits since the project was proposed in 2008.
[Photo credit: Sierra Club/Flickr]