Among the 1,200 activists arrested in front of the White House in September was 2002 Goldman Prize winner Alexis Massol-Gonzalez. The founder of Casa Pueblo joined the demonstrators in solidarity to protest the Keystone pipeline, and to take an important message to the White House about another project that threatens his hometown in Puerto Rico: the Via Verde natural gas pipeline.
The 92-mile pipeline would cut across the island, and stands to impact over 1,500 acres of tropical forest that are home to several endangered animals and plants. It would also threaten more than 200 rivers and streams, which provide drinking water for 1 out of 4 Puerto Ricans. Experts have also flagged numerous public safety concerns. Puerto Rico is prone to earthquakes and hurricanes, making it a dangerous place for a natural gas pipeline.
The project, with strong backing from the governor of Puerto Rico, is in its final phase of evaluation by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Casa Pueblo has led the effort to provide evaluation and data on the environmental impact of the pipeline, and is calling on the Obama administration to hold public hearings and carefully review the environmental impact.