70 People Arrested in Opening Day of Tar Sands Action

Uncategorized — 350.org Team August 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm
70 people from across the US and Canada were arrested at the White House this morning for the first day of a two week sit-in aimed at pressuring President Obama to deny the permit for a massive new oil pipeline. Over 2,000 more people are expected to join the daily civil disobedience over the coming days. At stake is what has quickly become the largest environmental test for President Obama before the 2012 election. The President must choose whether or not to grant a Canadian company a permit to build a 1,700 mile pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to refineries on the gulf of mexico. Environmentalists warn that the pipeline could cause a BP disaster right in America’s heartland, over the largest source of fresh drinking water in the country. The world’s top climatologist, Dr. James Hansen, has warned that if the Canadian tar sands are fully developed it could be “game over” for the climate. “It’s not the easiest thing on earth for law-abiding folk to come risk arrest. But this pipeline has emerged as the single clear test of the president’s willingness to fight for the environment,” said environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, who is spearheading the protests and was arrested this morning. “So I wore my Obama ’08 button, and I carry a great deal of hope in my heart that we will see that old Obama emerge. It’s hot out here today, especially when you’re wearing a suit and tie. But it’s nowhere near as hot as it’s going to get if we lose this fight.” McKibben was amongst those arrested today, along with the co-founder of NRDC and former White House official Gus Speth, gay rights activist Lt. Dan Choi, author and activist Mike Tidwell, Firedoglake founder Jane Hamsher, and many others. Environmentalists say that the President’s failure to take any substantive steps to protect the environment and stop the climate crisis has left his base disheartened and desperate. While the President can blame Congress for the Democrats’ failure to pass a climate bill despite unprecedented majorities, the decision whether or not to grant the Keystone XL the permit necessary for construction is his and only his. The protest began with a small rally in Lafeyette Park, where participants listened to McKibben address the crowd and prepared themselves for what will likely be an afternoon in jail. At about 11:00 AM, the group formed two lines and marched to the White House fence to the applause of onlookers. A group of participants lined the fence, holding two large banners that read “Climate Change is Not in Our National Interest: Stop the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline” and “We Sit In Against the Keystone XL Pipeline. Obama Will You Stand Up to Big Oil?” The rest of the group sat-in on the sidewalk infront of the fence. Within a few minutes, police began issuing warnings to clear the area. At 11:30 AM, a young woman from Sarah Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, AK was the first person to be arrested. Arrests proceeded for over an hour as van-loads of protestors were taken away from the White House. Jane Kleeb, an outspoken opponent of the pipeline and founder of BOLD Nebraska, stood in Lafayette Park this morning and cheered on the protestors as they were arrested. “Nebraskans are counting on President Obama to do the right thing,” said Keeb, who is planning to risk arrest on Monday with a delegation of farmers and ranchers who are coming in from Nebraska. “Back home we are fighting to protect our land and water. We decided to bring that fight to the President’s doorstep because our families’ legacies, those that homesteaded the very land now threatened by a foreign oil company, are too important for us sit on the sidelines. We are acting on our values and expect our President to act as well.” The coalition organizing the protest, Tarsandsaction.org, is accepting donations and new sign-ups for the sit-in throughout the next two weeks. For more information, the public can visit tarsandsaction.org or follow the group on Twitter at @tarsandsaction.
  1. Eaglewings says:

    We are right behind you! (literally–on. Jersey Turnpike) This IS a defining moment for the president. Why not contact your local newspapers to be sure that the story gets out?
    From Andy, Laurie, Jesse, and Fran (a very simpatico group assembled thanks to the Tarsands ride board)

  2. Eaglewings says:

    We are right behind you! (literally–on. Jersey Turnpike) This IS a defining moment for the president. Why not contact your local newspapers to be sure that the story gets out?
    From Andy, Laurie, Jesse, and Fran (a very simpatico group assembled thanks to the Tarsands ride board)

  3. Marie Myers Lloyd says:

    Ashamed to the core of this Canadian government of mine, and glad I sent you a donation to help your action against my country’s tar sands, I wish all participants my very best.

    Shall we overcome? Only through events like these.

    MYy deepest apologies to America

  4. Marie Myers Lloyd says:

    Ashamed to the core of this Canadian government of mine, and glad I sent you a donation to help your action against my country’s tar sands, I wish all participants my very best.

    Shall we overcome? Only through events like these.

    MYy deepest apologies to America

  5. Mark Skudlarek says:

    I take it Obama didn’t show his face. Probably thinks it would be a bad move politically. Knows it would be the right thing to do for his children, and their children, but … maybe Barak is one of those beyond-hope oil junkies.

  6. Mark Skudlarek says:

    I take it Obama didn’t show his face. Probably thinks it would be a bad move politically. Knows it would be the right thing to do for his children, and their children, but … maybe Barak is one of those beyond-hope oil junkies.

  7. As a Canadian I am deeply ashamed of our government’s stance (or lack thereof) on the environment — in particular the support given to the AB tarsands project. I’m happy to see Americans standing up to voice their opposition to the pipeline. I only hope it has some effect.

    • Hockeyface_69 says:

      Then leave this country. Great for the Americans to stand up and voice their opposition. The reality is it creates jobs, money they sell the oil back to us also not to mention instead of wasting time to protest, why not collaborate to find an alternative resource. Another fact is the world runs/needs hydrocarbons whether you like it or not. You I am sure enjoy quite an excellent life style plus, many advances attributed to the oil industry.

  8. As a Canadian I am deeply ashamed of our government’s stance (or lack thereof) on the environment — in particular the support given to the AB tarsands project. I’m happy to see Americans standing up to voice their opposition to the pipeline. I only hope it has some effect.

    • Hockeyface_69 says:

      Then leave this country. Great for the Americans to stand up and voice their opposition. The reality is it creates jobs, money they sell the oil back to us also not to mention instead of wasting time to protest, why not collaborate to find an alternative resource. Another fact is the world runs/needs hydrocarbons whether you like it or not. You I am sure enjoy quite an excellent life style plus, many advances attributed to the oil industry.

      • Haha @ “leave this country”.

      • Beanguthrie says:

        IN ADDITION TO our protest, we are all involved in other facets of life including teaching public schools, missionary work in Asia, parenting, practicing law, science and selling newspapers. To be in support of a clean future, one does not have to stop living. One must begin to think of how to create a viable future for the next generations, not selfishly think of a job that will pay for your hockey puck.

      • Just_facts says:

        jobs at what price ?? that’s the problem with people like you hockeyface_69 …you’d sell you soul, your child, and others to the devil for a buck ….sad state of affairs

  9. Zeniahh says:

    The disaster of the BP oil spill was enough for me. Now the destrucition of the environment in Canada bringing their disaster to the US. Gas has only gone up do to greed. Some say leave the country, with what money?, LOL Their should be jobs created for clean energy as promised, not jobs for the destrucion of the planet.

  10. Marjorie says:

    So very proud of you all..See you there next weekend!! Even if I am detained for a day or two…This is too important to stand by and do nothing…LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’ll be there on the 24th. By pure dumb luck, I got through the sixties without getting arrested so it’s about time. I think those of us who are seniors have a special obligation to stick our necks out for this issue. How about a Geezers Against Global Warming cadre?

  12. BmGuian1956 says:

    If obama does not do the right thing, he is not getting my vote. He is quite stupid anyway!

  13. BmGuian1956 says:

    If obama does not do the right thing, he is not getting my vote. He is quite stupid anyway!

  14. doug graves says:

    Obama is doing the dance of a thousand veils. By my estimation he has lost 400 or so. It will be interesting to see if he can keep his junk covered before the second Tuesday in November next year.

  15. doug graves says:

    Obama is doing the dance of a thousand veils. By my estimation he has lost 400 or so. It will be interesting to see if he can keep his junk covered before the second Tuesday in November next year.

  16. Debarr54 says:

    Let’s use our heads on this one! Have we learned nothing from the past when it comes to oil companies and their supposed environmental concerns vs. oil spills and clean-up?

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