Good News: Tar Sands Action Joined

News — the tar sands action team January 2, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

Dear Friends,

Early last summer when folks decided to take on the Keystone Pipeline, we set up so we could have a broad front supported by many groups. Matt, Linda, Rae, Duncan and Josh came on board and got to work—those of you who came to DC to get arrested met them in person, and the rest of you have been in touch with them one way or another all fall.

Now the good news is that we’re going to try to keep them going—in fact, we’re bringing them aboard as our US Climate Action Team. They’ll still be working hard on tar sands  but expanding their work to take on issues like fracking, and systematic change like ending fossil fuel subsidies and attacking the idea that corporations are people.

Since many of you belong to both and, we know you’ve been getting duplicate emails, and that seems pointless.

From now on you’ll hear from the US Action Team (US because also exists in 188 other countries, where people are also hard at work!), and from the other good folks at 350 when important news breaks related to climate change.

We’re going to go ahead and add everyone here to the email list, where you’ll get critical updates from this team on ongoing organizing on Keystone XL and other similar issues.

But if you’re not interested in staying on, click here and we’ll remove you (we’ll be sad to see you go):

We have the funding we need to get this moving, but to keep the Action Team in the field long term, we’ll need a bit more on hand. We don’t do a lot of asking for money at – we’d much rather you were out taking action yourself – but if you can pitch in to keep these folks going at it, I would be very grateful. Here’s where you can donate:

Of course it’s been a tough year economically for many of us, so if you don’t have funds to spare, don’t even think about giving. There are plenty of ways to help out.

For me this is the very finest of Christmas presents. I’ve enjoyed working with these five actioneers enormously, and I’ve watched them fit in seamlessly with the young people who run If we’re going to give the fossil fuel industry a run for their (limitless) money, we’re going to need to be a lean loving fighting machine.

This will help—but only if you’re a part of it.

I’m feeling entirely fired up about 2012. This time last year I had no idea that we’d be fighting Keystone together, or that I’d be spending time in jail, or any of it; I’m pretty sure the year to come will be just as exciting.

As always, I am quite grateful for all of the hard work you’re doing.



You made the news.

News — the tar sands action team February 14, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

Just a few hits from the action yesterday:



National and DC Print / Online

Local / Regional & International News


48 Environmental, civil rights, and community leaders engage in historic act of civil disobedience to stop Keystone XL pipeline

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team February 13, 2013 @ 2:06 pm


February 13, 2013

Eddie Scher, Sierra Club, 415-815-7027
Maggie Kao, Sierra Club, 202-675-2384
Daniel Kessler,, 510-501-1779


WASHINGTON, D.C. — This morning, 48 environmental, civil rights, and community leaders from across the country joined together for a historic display of civil disobedience at the White House where they demanded that President Obama deny the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and address the climate crisis.

Among the notable leaders involved in the civil disobedience were Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; Bill McKibben, Founder of; Julian Bond, former president of the NAACP; Danny Kennedy, CEO of Sungevity; Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Connor Kennedy, and Daryl Hannah, American actress.

After blocking a main thoroughfare in front of the White House, and refusing to move when asked by police, the activists were arrested and transported to Anacostia for processing by the US Park Police Department.

“The threat to our planet’s climate is both grave and urgent,” said civil rights activist Julian Bond. “Although President Obama has declared his own determination to act, much that is within his power to accomplish remains undone, and the decision to allow the construction of a pipeline to carry millions of barrels of the most-polluting oil on Earth from Canada’s tar sands to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. is in his hands. I am proud today to stand before my fellow citizens and declare, ‘I am willing to go to jail to stop this wrong.’ The environmental crisis we face today demands nothing less.”


Sierra Club, and Commited Citizens to Engage in Civil Disobedience Today at White House to Stop Tar Sands, Keystone XL pipeline

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team @ 8:17 am

**Wednesday, February 13 at 10:45 AM ET**

**Attention Photo/TV Desks – Great Visuals***

Contacts: Daniel Kessler / 510-501-1779 /; Eddie Scher / 415-815-7027  /

Sierra Club, and Committed Citizens to Engage in Civil Disobedience Today at White House to Stop Tar Sands, Keystone XL pipeline

What: Fifty American leaders–including Michael Brune (Sierra Club), Bill McKibben (, Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. (Hip Hop Caucus), civil rights legend Julian Bond, actress Daryl Hannah, Nebraska rancher Randy Thompson and others on the frontlines of climate change–will risk arrest in front of the White House to demonstrate the depth of their support for decisive action against climate change. For the first time in its 120-year history, the Sierra Club will participate in this civil disobedience action to convey the severity and urgency of action on climate.

Where and when:
10:30AM Media availability in Lafayette park for those risking arrest.

11:00AM Activists and supporters will gather in Lafayette park for photos and speeches.

11:30AM The civil disobedience will take place around at the East Gate of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, just east of the picture-postcard zone.

Why: 2012 was the hottest year on record, half the country is in severe drought, and Superstorm Sandy just flooded the greatest city in the world–New York. A global crisis unfolds before our eyes and immediate action is required. President Obama has the executive authority to make a significant and immediate impact on carbon pollution, and he can begin by saying no to Big Oil by rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Civil disobedience is the response of ordinary people to extraordinary injustices. Americans have righted the wrongs of our society – slavery, child labor, suffrage, segregation, and inequality for gays and immigrant workers – with creative nonviolent resistance. Climate change threatens the health and security of all Americans, and action proportional to the problem is required–now.

The full list of participants, along with photos and bios, is available at

The participants risking arrest have released the following letter to explain their collective action.


New Keystone XL Demonstration at the White House on November 18

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team November 7, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

For immediate release Nov. 6, 2012 Environmentalists Announce New Keystone XL Demonstration at the White House on November 18 Oakland — In the wake of President Barack Obama’s re-election, environmentalists today called for a demonstration outside the White House on Nov. 18 to show the president that he has their support if he denies the permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The demonstration will follow’s “Do the Math” event at the Warner Theatre and will feature thousands of activists, a 500-foot pipeline, and several speakers–including Bill McKibben, who led the Keystone XL protests last summer in which…


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Uncategorized — the tar sands action team February 12, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

[View the story “24 Hours to Stop Keystone XL” on Storify]


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Uncategorized — the tar sands action team @ 9:22 pm

[View the story “24 Hours to Stop Keystone XL” on Storify]


Big News: Obama rejects Keystone XL – but we can't stop here.

News — the tar sands action team January 20, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

Bill McKibben just sent this email to supporters in the United States and Canada

Dear Friends

We wanted to share with you the news: this afternoon the Obama Administration announced that they are denying the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. You did good work, against some of the longest possible odds.

For years, the knock on the President Obama was that he backed down too easily in the face of opposition. Not here. When Republicans in Congress forced the issue again by passing a 60-day time limit on the President’s final decision, he stood strong and denied the permit. And that was despite the most explicit threats from Big Oil: that they would exact ‘huge political consequences’ if he did the right thing on Keystone. Make no mistake—this is a brave decision.

And make no mistake about this either—Big Oil will do everything it can to overturn that decision, because they are not used to losing. They have one weapon—money. They’ve used it to buy the allegiance of many Representatives and Senators and now they’ll use Congress to try and get their dirty work done. That’s what happened when the President delayed the permit last November, and we should expect them to try again now.

That’s why we’re going to Congress and Big Oil, beginning next Tuesday the 24th. If you can join us, we’re meeting at noon on the West Lawn, and you should wear a referee’s shirt. We’re going to ‘blow the whistle’ on the corruption that passes for business as usual on Capitol Hill, where people take money from companies whose interests they vote on. If this happened at the Super Bowl it would be a national scandal; we’ve got to make sure it’s seen that way in our political life too. We know it’s short notice, but we hope we can get at least 500 people there. Not to get arrested, at least not this time, but to make quite a noise.

If you can make it, click here to join the action in DC.

We’ll be fighting to prevent Keystone, but we’ll also be fighting to shut off the flow of handouts to the oil, gas, and coal industries, and to take away their right to use the atmosphere as an open sewer into which to dump their carbon for free. This industry, simply because it iss rich, has been cosseted too long. Time to fight back.

What you’ve done these past eight months is quite amazing—and against all the odds. We’ve won no permanent victory (environmentalists never do) but we have shown that spirited people can bring science back to the fore. Blocking one pipeline was never going to stop global warming—but it is a real start, one of the first times in the two-decade fight over climate change when the fossil fuel lobby has actually lost.

Rest assured they’ll fight like heck—their world-record profits depend on it. We better fight just as hard, because the world depends on it.



Keystone XL Rejected (Again)

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team January 18, 2012 @ 1:25 pm founder and Keystone XL protest leader, Bill McKibben, had the following reaction the news that the State Department is expected to reject the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline later this afternoon. For more coverage of the announcement, please visit

“Assuming that what we’re hearing is true, this isn’t just the right call, it’s the brave call. The knock on Barack Obama from many quarters has been that he’s too conciliatory. But here, in the face of a naked political threat from Big Oil to exact ‘huge political consequences,’ he’s stood up strong. This is a victory for Americans who testified in record numbers, and who demanded that science get the hearing usually reserved for big money.

We’re well aware that the fossil fuel lobby won’t give up easily. They have control of Congress. But as the year goes on, we’ll try to break some of that hammerlock, both so that environmental review can go forward, and so that we can stop wasting taxpayer money on subsidies and handouts to the industry. The action starts mid-day Tuesday on Capitol Hill, when 500 referees will blow the whistle on Big Oil’s attempts to corrupt the Congress.”


Keystone XL Victory Will Help Stop the Tar Sands

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team December 24, 2011 @ 10:48 am

These days, it’s easier to kill pipelines than “conventional wisdom.”

In a news analysis published today, the New York Times concludes that while the tax bill provision on Keystone XL will likely kill the project, the victory will do little to stop future pipelines, stall tar sands development, or slow down global warming. After all, the world needs energy, the tar sands have it, and therefore, they’re going to be developed, atmosphere be damned.

It’s a compelling argument that’s been made over and over again during the fight against Keystone XL. Here’s why it’s wrong.

Time and again, public opposition has stopped things that made “economic” sense. That’s why ever mile of the Colorado river isn’t dammed, why we haven’t cut down every last inch of Brazilian rainforest, or, to pull from another time period, why the British Empire finally abolished the slave trade even though it was great economics. As it turns out, there are other forces in the world than supply and demand. Just because morality is hard to quantify, doesn’t mean it can’t change history now and then.

As political opposition to the tar sands grows, it’s going to be nearly impossible for oil companies to build the pipelines they need to get tar sands oil out of landlocked Alberta. You thought the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline was contentious? Just check out the struggle over the Enbridge Northern Gateway, a pipeline that was slated to be built from the tar sands out to the coast of British Columbia. Thanks to the opposition from indigenous communities along the entire pipeline route and people up and down the coast, the Canadian government has been forced to stall the project for yet another year of environmental review. The delay, along with the news on Keystone, has fired up the anti-tar sands movement even more. When Goliath teeters, David puts another stone in the sling-shot.


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