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The Power of Personal Action: Thousands Gather at White House to Say No to Keystone XL Pipeline

Frances Beinecke

Posted November 7, 2011 in Moving Beyond Oil, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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On Sunday, as many as 15,000 people gathered at the White House to send President Obama a clear message: Say no to the Keystone XL pipeline for tar sands oil.

It was a great day. Under sunny autumn skies, citizens from Nebraska, Florida, the Gulf Coast, the Northeast, and Canada’s First Nations stood side by side in several large circles around the White House and asked the president to deliver on the clean energy promises he has made. 

NRDC Founder John Adams led a group of NRDC staffers and members, and he rallied the crowd with his rousing call to stop dirty fuels.

The last time John was at the White House, he received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama. On Sunday, John returned in an act of personal conscience. He wanted to add his voice to the growing chorus of Americans trying to stop this dangerous pipeline project before it harms communities and intensifies climate change.

The slogan of the day was: “Keep the tar sands in the soil. We don’t want your dirty oil”  

Bill McKibben served as the impassioned and articulate master of ceremonies. Bill has been an unstoppable force in the effort to block the Keystone XL pipeline from the beginning. He orchestrated the peaceful sit-ins at the White House in August during which 1,200 were arrested, and he helped organize Sunday’s event as well.

Throughout this campaign, Bill has reminded us of the power of personal action. He knows the groundswell of grassroots opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline is getting the White House’s attention. It has grown so strong President Obama can’t make a campaign stop without someone urging him to reject the pipeline.

This issue has caught fire because people view Keystone XL as a symbol of dirty, outdated energy choices. Americans are raising their voices and putting their boots on the ground to demand something better.

At the end of the rally on Sunday, Bill said walking around the White House and seeing the thousands of people standing together in support of a cleaner future was one of the best sights of his life.

We will keep fighting for that cleaner future, and you can join us by telling President Obama to say no to the Keystone XL pipeline at www.StopTar.org.

 

 

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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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