Another 52 Americans Arrested to Ask Obama to Stand Up to Big Oil

News — the tar sands action team August 22, 2011 at 3:44 pm

For immediate release
August 22, 2011

Another 52 Americans Arrested to Ask Obama to Stand Up to Big Oil

WASHINGTON, DC — Another 52 Americans were arrested at the White House this morning for taking part in an ongoing sit-in to push President Obama to stand up to Big Oil and deny the permit for a massive new oil pipeline. (1) In total, 162 people have been arrested since the ongoing protest began on Saturday.

This morning’s demonstrators came to Washington, DC from across the country, willing to spend their vacation in handcuffs to send a message to the President that they feel has abandoned their  values and his promises to take on climate change.

Lori Fischer, the co-director for Nebraska Environmental Action Coalition and a member of Nebraska Farmers Union, traveled with five other Nebraskans and was arrested this morning. She said before her arrest:

“If the government is going to refuse to step up to the responsibility to defend a livable future, I believe that creates a moral imperative for me and many others. This is a crucial issue for Nebraskans to speak up loudly about. Our land, water, and the future of our children are at stake. I feel our leaders need to take seriously their responsibility to pass on a healthy and just world to the next generation, I am going to Washington remind them.”

This morning, the New York Times editorial board reiterated its opposition to the pipeline, writing, “The State Department] should acknowledge the environmental risk of the pipeline and the larger damage caused by tar sands production and block the Keystone XL.” (2)

Many of the protest’s lead organizers remained in jail this morning after being arrested during Saturday morning’s first act of civil disobedience., including former White House official and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Gus Speth.

“We the prisoners being held in the Central Cell Block of the D.C. Jail need company and encourage the continuation of the protests against the tar sands pipeline,” said Speth. “I’ve held numerous positions and public office in Washington but my current position feels like one of the most important.”

The sit-in at the White House will continue tomorrow morning with 50 more Americans and Canadians risking arrest to protect their air, water, and climate. Over 2,000 people have registered to take part in the sit-in, which will continue every day until September 3.

Among those planning on being arrested tomorrow are film-star Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in four Superman movies, and actress Tantoo Cardinal, an iconic Cree actress who appeared in Dances with Wolves, Legends of the Fall, Smoke Signals and more. Cardinal, who was born in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, the capitol of the tar sands, was made made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2009.

Tomorrow, she will risk arrest to stop the destruction of her homeland and push President Obama to help shut down the tar sands by denying a permit for the Keystone XL.

Notes to the editor
(1) President Obama will decide later this year on TransCanada’s permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which will send 900,000 barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil to US refineries, allowing further development of the Alberta tar sands. The pipeline would pass through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Mining oil from tar sands creates three times more carbon emissions than conventional oil extraction.

  1. Lynnea E says:

    Keep up the great work! I’ll be sending a donation to help with your legal funds. Nonviolent action is a beautiful thing.

  2. Lynnea E says:

    Keep up the great work! I’ll be sending a donation to help with your legal funds. Nonviolent action is a beautiful thing.

  3. Guest says:

    Exactly what are they being arrested for? LAst I checked we had the right to freedom of speech and to asseble peacefully.

  4. i dont agree with this pipeline and commend these people standing up, however it really pisses me off that this is a climate change issue. climate change is a natural phenomenon and is being used to set agenda via carbon emissions. we can not stop it and the policies being enacted under this bogus premise are idiotic.

    • LarryE says:

      Saying climate change is a natural phenomenon and therefore we can do nothing about it is exactly like saying evolution is natural and therefore we can do nothing about cloning. That’s because the change we are seeing now is not “natural” in any sense you could have intended. It is the result of human activities – and yes, there is an utterly overwhelming scientific consensus on that, nanny-nanny naysayer fantasies to the contrary notwithstanding – and we certainly can do something about those.

    • mr.weather2448 says:

      Correction, climate change is not natural…there is no scientifically-sound argument that can be made that’ll prove humans are not the major contributors to climate change. As an atmospheric scientist in-training, I’ve learned my share about climate science…humans are the leading cause of climate change. To think otherwise will be to agree with the small minority of scientists who receive funding from the fossil fuel industry to make up any case they can to promote the agenda of the mega fossil fuel corporations. This industry stands to lose a lot of money if everyone finally understands they’re impacting the delicate climate system, which is why they’re trying so hard to discredit real scientists…but they will ultimately fail, and they’re worried about it.

    • Ally says:

      If you don’t believe that climate change is being escalated by humans I encourage you to do your own research on the topic… there’s plenty out there to read. I think once you do some reading about the issue you’ll come to a similar conclusion to the rest of us who have been studying it/reading about it/discussing it for years. But keep yourself informed and I’m sure you can draw your own conclusions.

      Try Union of Concerned Scientists: or NASA’s website: Heck, you can even just search it on Google Scholar and find some interesting things.

  5. Cheryl says:

    Journey-worthy action!

  6. Andrew MacDonald says:

    Good work! Why not involve Canadians in this? We’re part of it too. I guess you’re focused on the DC progress but the chain that got me there asked me to check the site “if I was American.” I’m not. Work with Canadians, put out the invite at least and ask for help.

    • Kyotoboy says:

      Because Canadians are an apathetic bunch. Too much of that Tim Horton’s coffee — you know they spike it with something — its hoser soma. In fact, look at the websites of Canadian ENGOs. Nothing on this. The Canadians are too polite. As a result, that Albertan dictatorship they just gave a majority government to can walk all over them. Its a good thing there are Americans in this world who can get a little more riled up about climate change. If we had to rely on Canadians, we’d be at 1000 ppm before someone piped up “I just woke up from my little brewski bender dare eh – A two-four a day keeps da doctor away! But I tell, ya, its gettin’ a little hot out dare eh. Maybe we should do some-tin about dis climate tingy dare eh?”

    • Anonymous says:

      Andrew, please ignore the yahoos/trolls. They don’t represent all Americans or our attitude toward our polite neighbor to the north.

      • Kyotoboy says:

        You hit the nail on the head Katie Doyle — the Canadians are too bloody polite. There was a time in history when Canadians had spunk and backbone to stand up to oppressors – Vimy Ridge and Dieppe are cases in point. Since then they’ve degenerated to a beer swillin’, hockey watchin’, Timmy’s drinkin’ collection of louts who let the brothers Cal, Gary, Edmont, Uncle Albert and their pet Trojan Moose from Fort Mac walk all over them and sully their reputation without even a hint of resistance.

  7. Donnelle says:

    My son called from prison and said two large guards had cavity searched him for over 40 minutes. And that they smelled like they’d been on a farm. He took it like a champ and I told him to hang in there. He said, “Thanks mom, for preparing me for this. I didn’t appreciate it when you were doing it, but I do now.”

    • Ally says:

      These comments are really immature and insensitive- to the best of my knowledge no one is getting cavity searched or that would be all over the media. Please find another forum to flood with your nonsense. Thanks.

      • Mqsbwa says:

        You mean like the MEDIA is all over the OIL…. Plzzzzzzzzzz… We’ve been living a nightmare on the Gulf Coast which noone seems to know about… Well maybe a few… But the media has been quieted as has the medical community… To the best of most peoples knowledge the GULF OIL SPILL “NEVER HAPPENED” and we aren’t ALL suffering, affected by the toxins that they continue to spray along with the oil byproducts which have not only fouled our bodies, our air and environment… FYI people are dying here and you don’t see ANY media coverage do you… HMMM…

  8. del roberts says:

    big oil is in the pockets of our presedent, and the senators,and representatives just cause you have money shouldnt mean they can buy our government,they already pay no taxes whats wrong with this country putting people in jail for speeking freely which isnt against the law,and peaceful assembly,this is crap

  9. Linda says:

    I’ve lived in Australia for over 40 years now. My cousin comes from Wisconsin and was one of the 52 arrested mentioned in the article. I’m so very proud of him for involving himself in this peaceful form of protest and deeply disturbed that people have to get arrested for standing up for their planet.

    Maybe Barack should steel his resolve to deny the permit by considering the step that our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has taken to introduce legislation to put a price on carbon. The lobbying to halt this legislation- which will pass due to the slim majority her government has in parliament, with the assistance of the Senate to pass the legislation, has been enormous. The mining industry has enormous power and influence and more so, very big pockets but they just look at profits and supply over the health of the planet.

    These issues of reducing carbon must take precedence over big business and all governments around the world need to acquire the backbone to resist opposition to good practice. Julia is trying and don’t think she hasn’t been innundated by the mining/oil industry who tend to have too much influence. They want her out of government.

    Watch out for the Murdoch press- they have been rabidly against our government’s effort to do something positive for climate change. Can the US administration weather the lobbyists? They must do so for the sake of its people and generations to come. They must take a stand.

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