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Activists gather in Fargo, across Minnesota to protest Keystone XL pipeline

FARGO - Protesters here, in tandem with activists across the country, rallied Tuesday against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Eight of the roughly two dozen protesters standing on the steps of the U.S. Courthouse here held up a banner that read "No tar sands pipelines" as drivers passed by, offering their support.

"The whole thing is, this goes back to the issue of climate change," said Fargo resident Dean Hulse, 59, who helped organize the Fargo rally. "We have to draw the line somewhere."

The Keystone XL pipeline - which would carry difficult-to-refine tar sands oil from northern Alberta to the Gulf Coast - has been locked up in bureaucratic limbo for years.

Hulse said the purpose of the protest was to draw attention to the environmental risks posed by the pipeline - like oil spills - and urge President Barack Obama to veto the project if it passes Congress.

"It will not meet the climate test he laid out," Hulse said of the president.

The rally was one of many against the pipeline across the country, including Tuesday in downtown Minneapolis, where more than two dozen protesters gathered Tuesday in a chilly Government Plaza.

Protesters held signs, sang songs and passed out informational cards to pedestrians near a busy light rail platform to draw attention to their cause. Protests like this one were also held Monday in Mankato and Duluth, in addition to those in cities across the United States.

Chuck Prentice, a volunteer organizer with environmentalist group MN350, called for Obama to veto a bill being sponsored by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., calling for the pipeline's approval.

"With a looming KXL vote in the U.S. Senate ... Obama must take urgent action and reject the pipeline now," Prentice said.

Already-existing pipelines that carry tar sands oil through North Dakota and Minnesota, Enbridge's Alberta Clipper and Line 3 pipeline, were also a target for protesters in Minneapolis. The Canadian-based Enbridge lines are in the process of applying for expansion.

"If Obama rejects KXL, he must also reject these KXL clone pipelines in Minnesota," said MN350 Mankato member Katy Wortel in a news release.