381 And Counting…
On Friday, as Hurricane Irene approached the East Coast and reminded us what a world with increased climate change and extreme weather events will look like, the Obama Administration released its final Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to transport toxic tar sands oil through the middle of the country.
USCAN members and allies across the country are not letting the Obama Administration move quietly toward approval of the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline that could bring as many as 900,000 barrels per day of costly and polluting fuel to the U.S. Gulf Coast. If approved, this pipeline will lock the United States into further dependence on hard-to-extract oil, generating a massive expansion of the destructive tar sands oil operations in Canada. Keystone XL would be the greenhouse gas equivalent of adding over 4 million passenger vehicles to the road or constructing 4 new coal-fired power plants every year, because the processing and burning of oil from tar sands creates 20 percent more global warming pollution than conventional oil. In addition to the damage that would be caused by the increased tar sands extraction, the pipeline threatens to pollute freshwater supplies in America’s agricultural heartland and increase emissions in already-polluted communities of the Gulf Coast.
As of this morning, 381 protesters have been arrested in Washington D.C. after participating in civil disobedience in front of the White House to say “NO” to this dangerous pipeline plan. The action organized by tarsandsaction.org, has been successful at getting around 50, sometimes closer to 100, people peacefully arrested at the White House each day, from August 20 to September 3. The goal is to pressure President Obama to reject the 1,700-mile tars sands pipeline, which is fully within the President’s power. Outside of the organized protest, loads of additional pressure are directed at the White House outside the organized protest. On Wednesday, nine green groups CEOs sent a letter to President Obama that underscored the unified intention of their groups to make the $7 billion pipeline a large political pressure point for his administration. The CEO’s letter stated “It’s perhaps the biggest climate test you face between now and the election…If you block it, you will trigger a surge of enthusiasm from the green base that supported you so strongly in the last election. We expect nothing less.”
The project still must clear some hurdles before getting the green light, including endorsement by other federal agencies, public hearings and consultation with the states along the pipeline’s intended route. So make your voice heard! If you have not yet taken action to stop the KeyStone XL pipeline sign the petition more details in action alert below. To wrap up the 15 days of protests, the Sierra Club and others are holding a tar sands rally at Lafayette Park in front of the White House to say NO to the Keystone XL pipeline and urge President Obama to reject this disastrous project. Click here for details.
Written by Kate Smolski, Domestic Policy Director