Keystone Protest in Coronado Peaceful: No Arrests, Disruptions

Protesters gather outside the Loews Coronado Bay Resort Wednesday April 17, 2013 to object to the Keystone XL pipeline project. The American Petroleum Institute was concluding a two-day meeting at the resort.

Update 3:30 p.m. Wednesday with comments from API


About 40 protesters gathered outside Loews Coronado Bay Resort Wednesday to object to the Keystone XL pipeline development, the latest of thousands of rallies across the country against the project.

They chose the resort because the American Petroleum Institute was wrapping up a two-day meeting at Loews.

The proposed Keystone pipeline would extend from Canada through Nebraska and Oklahoma down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Supporters say it will create jobs, increase the nation’s ability to produce oil and generate more than $5 billion in tax revenue.

But protesters like those on Silver Strand Boulevard outside Loews Wednesday said the green industry would lead to bigger employment boosts with far less damage to the environment.

Former Coronado resident Eve Simmons has participated in at least 10 rallies against the pipeline and helped lead the one outside Loews.

They targeted API, the one-time San Diego Zoo wildlife guide said, because officials with the lobbying group “are carrying the message that we need more fossil fuel.”

A representative of API, Eric Wohlschlegel responded to the protest via email:

“With the State Department’s latest study determining the safety of the pipeline, the significant jobs that will be created, the thousands of Americans who have joined pro-KXL rallies across the country, and strong bipartisan support in Congress, it’s now time to move this project forward.” 

Simmons added that activists also hope the protest encourages those with concerns about Keystone to submit comments to the Secretary of State before April 22, when the public comment period closes.

Two members of the Coronado Police Department watched over the gathering for nearly an hour. Sgt. Dan Schicker said he met with protest organizers and Loews security to set ground rules before the event and that “nobody came close to anything causing a problem” once it began.

“This was pro-active, but peaceful,” Simmons said.

Schicker estimates it’s been about 25 years since there was has been an environmental protest in Coronado. The last time he recalled was when the ill-fated Exxon Valdez was towed to San Diego for repairs after the huge Alaskan oil spill in 1989.