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Elizabeth Shope’s Blog

Thousands to Rally Against the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline at the White House Sunday

Elizabeth Shope

Posted November 16, 2012 in Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming

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Obama Zombie Pipeline Slayer.jpg

President is back in the White House… and it seems from news coverage that the effort to push that zombie Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is back too. The good news is, we’re back, too! This Sunday, thousands will converge on the White House to protest this dirty tar sands pipeline.

Earlier this week, President Obama said:

I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. And as a consequence, I think we've got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.

We wholeheartedly agree.

So we’re coming back to the White House this weekend to hammer that message home and remind him that with four more years in the White House, President Obama can take important steps towards stopping climate change by finalizing carbon pollution standards for new coal-fired power plants, setting carbon standards for existing coal-fired power plants, and rejecting the permit for the northern segment of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (which his EPA has estimated would increase global warming pollution by the equivalent of seven coal-fired power plants). 

Last summer, more than 1200 people were arrested in front of the White House protesting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline – not just rebellious activist types, but young people, old people, grandmothers from Vermont, ranchers from Nebraska, landowners in Texas, indigenous people from Native American tribes and Canadian First Nations, citizens from California who are concerned about their climate future, NRDC staff members including myself on vacation days (NRDC does not support acts of civil disobedience but supports the ideas behind the protests), and many others. Then, on November 6, 2011, more than ten thousand people from all walks of life came from across the country surrounded the White House to once again ask President Obama to reject Keystone XL. Four days later, he called for a new environmental review, and in January 2012, when Congressional Republicans forced his hand, he rejected the pipeline.

Nov 6 Tar Sands Action Credit Clayton Conn.JPG

November 6 Tar Sands Action Credit: Clayton Conn

But now the pipeline is back – being pushed with renewed vigor and effort by powerful interests. TransCanada has begun construction of the “Southern segment” of the pipeline between Cushing, Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast, bullying Texas landowners who continue to fight to protect their land. And they have reapplied for a permit for the “Northern segment” of the pipeline that would run from Alberta through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The State Department is currently carrying out the environmental review for the pipeline. If the Obama Administration considers all the environmental issues associated with the pipeline including the climate impacts, the fact that the much of the tar sands oil will likely be exported and that our energy security needs would be better served by investing in clean energy, and the risks that tar sands pipelines pose to the land and water they traverse, it will be clear that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline should be rejected as not in the national interest.

Reasons to Reject Keystone XL.JPG

Now, like 2010, there is an all-out blitz from Big Oil to push this bad idea project with industry-induced speculation that the pipeline will be approved. In fact, the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is far from a done deal – as my colleague Danielle Droitsch explains in her blog. So it’s time to counter that with some noise of our own. That happens on Sunday at the White House with a big public event to show President Obama that we’ve got his back and will stand with him when he pushes the fight against climate change and rejects the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The rally will begin at 3 pm in Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC this Sunday, November 18 following Bill McKibben’s 1 pm Do the Math event in DC at the Warner Theater. If you can’t make it to DC this weekend, you can join the Thunderclap to add your voice on social media in the continued fight against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.  

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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