Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tar Sands Pipeline: Game Over for the Climate (Video) *Protests & arrests continue at White House*

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Tar Sands Pipeline protesters at White House, and being arrested, in August 2011


Largest Civil Disobedience Protest in the Environmental Movement in Decades Bill McKibben of Tar Sands Action spoke on Countdown with Keith Olbermann this week. President Obama can approve or disapprove the Keystone XL pipeline without consulting Congress. The protests against the pipeline are confront the oil industry, "the most powerful, profitable industry on the planet". The issue has become nationalized, not just people affected along the pipeline route. People from all 50 states are coming to Washington, D.C. to get arrested. The momentum is beginning to shift, which assists in persuading President Obama to disapprove the pipeline. McKibben says Obama has not done anything transformative for the environment yet in his term and this is his opportunity. The pipeline is "risky in transmission" and will have spills. Even if the oil makes it to the Gulf Coast, "that's just that more oil to spill into the atmosphere" and "that's just game over for the climate".

Stand Up to Big Oil. Yes, YOU! Sign the Tar Sands Action online petition here!
Tell President Obama: No to Keystone XL
"The tar sands represent a catastrophic threat to our communities, our climate, and our planet. We urge you to demonstrate real climate leadership by rejecting the requested permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and instead focus on developing safe, clean energy."

Activist Bill McKibben on Why the Tar Sands Pipeline is 'Game Over' for the Climate For a fourth straight day outside the White House, environmentalists were arrested for peacefully protesting a pipeline that would carry acidic crude oil from Western Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, who spent the weekend with fellow demonstrators in a Washington jail, discusses the the success of the protest and the shortcomings of Obama's environmental policy with Keith. McKibben echoes the warning from NASA's Jim Hansen that if the Tar Sands project goes forward it will be "essentially game over for the climate." The last of the video is cut off, the transcript is:
McKIBBEN: Well, you know, you're going to have to - some people are going to have to build the pipeline. The State Department, in its analysis, estimates a few thousand jobs, about 800 or 900 of them for people along the pipeline route. But, of course that's dwarfed by the number of people who would be employed turning to the wind and the sun, if we decide that we are no longer going to allow our addiction to oil to grow, that we are not going to find one more vein in, you know, to exploit. Instead, we are going to make the beginning of what, as you pointed out, will be a long and difficult transition off of fossil fuel. But as long as we keep pumping to the ground every barrel we can find, then we will never make that transition. And it's that kind of transformation that Barack Obama needs to show us he will lead on.
OLBERMANN: Bill McKibben of tarsandaction.org, great. Thanks for your time, and good luck with this.
McKIBBEN: Thanks so much.
OLBERMANN: Thank you.



Tell President Obama: No to Keystone XL
"The tar sands represent a catastrophic threat to our communities, our climate, and our planet. We urge you to demonstrate real climate leadership by rejecting the requested permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and instead focus on developing safe, clean energy."


MEDIA ADVISORY - Tar Sands Action
Aug 24, 2011
Nation’s Largest Environmental Organizations Stand Together To Oppose Oil Pipeline
Over 2,000 people, including environmental leaders, scientists, and celebrities, are expected to join the two week sit-in from August 20 – September 3rd

Washington, DC - The heads of the nation’s largest environmental organizations - often at odds on the best strategy for combating climate change - released a letter today calling on President Obama to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would span from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. (1) As another 56 people headed to jail today in the largest civil disobedience protests in the environmental movement’s recent history (2), the leaders of groups as diverse as Greenpeace and the Environmental Defense Fund told the president, “there is not an inch of daylight between our policy position on the Keystone XL pipeline, and those of the protesters being arrested daily outside the White House.”

On an issue as complicated as climate, there will often be disagreements over tactics and goals - just recall the differences over the Senate climate bill this time last year,” said Bill McKibben, one of the organizers of the protests for tarsandsaction.org. “But there are some projects so obviously dangerous that they unify everyone, and the Keystone XL pipeline is the best example yet. ”The leaders of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the Rainforest Action Network also made it clear they counted on President Obama to take decisive action to block the pipeline.

“We expect nothing less,” they said, describing the pipeline battle as “perhaps the biggest climate test you face between now and the election” and adding that denying the permit would trigger a “surge of enthusiasm from the green base that supported you so strongly in the last election. ”In their letter, the leaders cited dangers to the climate, the risks of disastrous spills and leaks, and the economic damage that will come from continued dependence on fossil fuel in their letter, concluding, “this is a terrible project. ”The civil disobedience protests - now in their fifth day, and scheduled to last through September 3 - played some role in the leaders’ decision to take a stand, though many of the organizations do not themselves engage in such protest.

“I have worked in the environmental movement since the first earth day in 1970, and this is reminding me of the spirit and unity we had back then. We are all together on this,” said Gus Speth, a founder of the NRDC in the 1970s and head of the Council on Environmental Quality under President Carter, who was among those arrested last Saturday and spent two nights in DC’s Central Cell Block. “For those of us out there in front of the White House, the best thing about this ringing statement is that the administration won’t be able to play one group off against another by making small concessions here and there,” said McKibben. “They’ve all shown that there is one way to demonstrate to the environmental base that the rhetoric of Obama’s 2008 campaign is still meaningful—and that’s to veto this pipeline. Since he can do it without even consulting Congress, this is one case where we’ll be able to see exactly how willing he is to match the rhetoric of his 2008 campaign.”

(1) The text of the letter follows:
Dear President Obama:
Many of the organizations we head do not engage in civil disobedience; some do. Regardless, speaking as individuals, we want to let you know that there is not an inch of daylight between our policy position on the Keystone Pipeline and those of the very civil protesters being arrested daily outside the White House. This is a terrible project–many of the country’s leading climate scientists have explained why in their letter last month to you. It risks many of our national treasures to leaks and spills. And it reduces incentives to make the transition to job-creating clean fuels.You have a clear shot to deny the permit, without any interference from Congress. 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.
Sincerely,
Fred Krupp, Environmental Defense Fund
Michael Brune, Sierra Club
Frances Beinecke, Natural Resources Defense Council
Phil Radford, Greenpeace
Larry Schweiger, National Wildlife Federation
Erich Pica, Friends of the Earth
Rebecca Tarbotton, Rainforest Action Network
May Boeve, 350.org
Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters
Margie Alt, Environment America

(2) To date, 275 people have been arrested at the White House protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.


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