Nation's Largest Environmental Organizations Stand Together To Oppose Oil Pipeline

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team August 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm
For immediate release Aug. 24, 2011 Nation’s Largest Environmental Organizations Stand Together To Oppose Oil Pipeline 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 Kevin Knobloch, Union of Concerned Scientists 2. To date, 275 people have been arrested at the White House protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.
  1. Ellengunter says:

    This is what a movement looks like.

    • Casey Mcintyre says:

      Actually NO, that’s not what a movement looks like. Those are NGOs reacting after the actual movement (the people sitting in at the White House) have taken real leadership, real action and real risk. When are we gonna see Fred Krupp or Frances Beinecke sitting in at the White House? Better yet, when are they going to spend their tens of millions on supporting the actual movement? Rank and file greens should beware and not to go down the road of Wisconsin and allow leaders in Washington (like the Democrats, union leadership or big greens) co-opt their momentum.

      • Ellengunter says:

        Good points all. We have to find our solidarity in any number of ways, I think. And to me, what’s key here is the first step: to have multiple, disparate enviro orgs beginning to get past their differences to show a united front. Yes, it’s crappy that some of the leaders don’t protest and I wish they did but we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The enviro movement has been so stalled and ineffectual against the power interests. This pipeline is giving us a voice and volume we haven’t heard in decades. You’re right about not giving our trust over to political parties. We’re all justifiably leery of that, especially given the lack of political will in the party that’s supposed to be environmental friendly. The movement in Wisconsin is ultimately a great first step toward righting the imbalance imposed by the November election. The Dems didn’t get all their seats but they did retrieve two and with one Republican showing no comfort in voting against collective bargaining, that’s progress. We are fractured as a country on so many levels, but this movement (and yes, I do think it is rising to that level) crosses multiple spectrums and may just provide the tipping point that can help Obama choose to do the right thing. If he doesn’t, it’s becoming clearer by the day, there will be a political consequence to that in despair and discontent.

        • Steven says:

          We are sharing, linking, calling and advocating against the Keystone XL pipeline > http://www.switchtoclean.com

        • Casey Mcintyre says:

          So the most radical thing that the Wisconsin “movement”can do is recall the Republicans and fail at it? the occupation was a radical expression of people power and movement building. the recall was Democratic politicians and union leaders (who were reluctant to support a direct action movement) channeling that energy into nothing.

          • Ellengunter says:

            Not the most radical. I’d say it’s more along the lines of taking their state house back a step at a time. Wisconsin has a deep tradition of labor progressiveness and looking out for the working and middle class. It’s actually where the idea for social security was born. Next move is to recall Scott Walker in November.

      • Claudette Ross says:

        Gus Speth, co-founder of National Resource Defense Council, was arrested Sat. in the first wave and spent the weekend in jail.

  2. Sam Salamay says:

    Listen everyone, there is a solution to this madness. I have an economic development model that will change everything. But you need to listen. Go to http://www.homegrownbiofuels.com. Best, Sam…

  3. inhabitant says:

    I’m on board with banding together to pressure the Big House Resident to make the only good decision. But can’t say I’m so foolish as to vote for him again, then watch him do nothing for another three years. He already blew that. Don’t put your hopes into politicians, conscientious folks need to come together and do whatever needs to be done locally and regionally. The two branches of the Demublican party created this mess. Why would anyone think they could, or would attempt to fix it?

    • Thanes says:

      The only solution is political. Without a carbon tax, cap and trade or carbon ban, there is no way to keep all this carbon in the ground. No way.

      • Mark Skudlarek says:

        But Thanes, of the three things you mentioned, only a Carbon Ban keeps carbon in the ground. And that is only true if the Carbon Ban was defined and implemented as a ban on carbon harvesting. I’m all for that. Think you can find a politician who will buy off on it, and then see it through?

        Didn’t Enron and Goldman Sachs devise the Cap and Trade Scam idea? The only solution they are capable of devising is one that lines the pockets of the Money Mercenaries at the expense of the poor.

        Carbon tax? When businesses can’t pay the tax, the politicians will bail them out. My short-term memory isn’t that bad.

        Are you asking me to put my faith in economists? Have you noticed how Demublican politicians are played by business economists?

        Business models and marketing (brainwashing) techniques are in very large part why we are having this discussion. The way I see things, the term “respectable businessman” is an oxymoron. When I say this, I mean absolutely no disrespect to any person. It’s just that for the 50+ years I’ve been alive the label has been applied to anyone who has figured out how to momentarily accumulate riches beyond what they need. I see nothing respectable about that.

        The only solution begins with somehow convincing our brothers and sisters that the US nation’s economy does not have to enslave them to a way of life that destroys the air, water and land that is vital to their existence and the continued existence of their grandchildren and all the Creations. We have all seen the devastation caused by industry and industrialized empires, and we must all rethink our own self-importance and what is truly a responsible way of life, a Good Path.

        The established system is broken beyond repair. Let’s devise a new and better one.

  4. deremus says:

    This is really great news. It is becoming increasingly more difficult and politically dangerous for Obama to do anything but stop the pipeline.

    We need to keep the heat on and in fact turn it up as much as we can. If you haven’t been to the DC protests, please go. It is a sacrifice that is worth the effort. I know this because I was at day one.

    This is a well organized and coordinated ongoing action of civil disobedience and I would like to say thank you to the organizers.

  5. Angela Boag says:

    Fantastic. Are we making sure the Canadian groups are on board too? Let’s make this a continent-wide coalition! #DavidSuzukiFoundation #NatureConservancyCanada #SierraClubCanada #GreenpeaceCanada

  6. this is a beautiful thing. even more beautiful: stopping the pipeline.

  7. creater3b says:

    Regardless of our disagreements,(such as my disdain for over funded Ngo’s with little focus) unity is beautiful and powerful! Listen up Obama Stop the Pipeline

  8. Alexleff says:

    Here’s a something I’d to share:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRvfZZB4fyM

    I wrote this song out of anger towards the Marcellus Shale Fracking and created a video out frustration about the KeystoneXL Pipeline. The song and video are named “Dear Senator” and it is my message to Barack Obama reminding him of his campaign promises a couple years ago. His campaign speeches are used and are chilling to here in light of what he’s done to fight climate warming and help the Earth during his presidency.

    I’ll see you in Washington this sunday!

    • RLF says:

      Alex-

      Fabulous! I’ll pass it on. Never give up. Cynics may say we can’t replace fossil fuels, or fix our political system,or reinvent our economy, or end poverty. But as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” My decision is to keep fighting for our environment. Cynics step aside.

  9. Monica says:

    THIS IS IT – – THE TERRIBLE TAR SANDS KEYSTONE PIPELINE PROPOSAL IS NOW THE MOST IMPORTANT TEST YET FOR OBAMA TO RECLAIM AT LEAST SOME OF HIS MOST IMPORTANT BASE’S RESPECT AND SUPPORT.

    HIS EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTING AND DISMAL ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD SO FAR (SEE HIS ADMINISTRATION’S HUGELY DAMAGING DECISIONS ON GRANTING MORE AND MORE OIL LEASES, ALLOWING WIDESPREAD WILDLIFE DESTRUCTION, PERMITTING GMO’S INTO THE FOOD CHAIN, FAILING TO VIGOROUSLY ATTACK AIR AND WATER POLLUTION , ETC.) IS BEYOND DEPRESSING, AND LEADS ONE TO ASK, “HAS OBAMA, TOO, BEEN BOUGHT AND/OR INTIMIDATED INTO SUBMISSION TO THE BLATANT ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL, GREED-BASED, AND PLANET-DESTROYING CORPORATE AGENDA??” OR,WORSE YET, “WAS HE SIMPLY LYING AND MANIPULATING HIS DESPERATELY HOPEFUL, PROGRESSIVE SUPPORTERS ALL ALONG, AND IS IN FACT, NOT A PRINCIPLED, FORWARD-THINKING MAN OF ACTION AND INTEGRITY, BUT RATHER, A CLOSET REPUBLICAN, WITH A STUNNING DISREGARD FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE TENS OF MILLIONS OF ORDINARY PEOPLE WHO PUT HIM IN OFFICE??!!”

  10. Aiglefort says:

    The leaders of the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth have just sent action letters to the entire association calling for various direct actions. Very good news!

  11. Charles_Siegel says:

    “It’s perhaps the biggest climate test you face between now and the election.”

    What do they mean “perhaps”? It is clearly the biggest climate test for Obama between now and the election.

  12. Francine says:

    Why is it o.k. to arrest good citizens for standing up merely for what is right? Is that a crime in any way, shape or form???? This just demonstrates that democracy is dead as has many other events. When are people going to get that and do something collectively??? What will it take???

  13. Westwindage says:

    Dumb De-Dumb-Dumb: “To date, 275 people have been arrested at the White House protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.” MoxNix if No One Knows. No 5th Estate.

  14. Carol Judy says:

    acting / re-acting / pro-acting , i see hope in all this on a national level or is it inter-national because of canada being in this pipeline? what i know is, youth of diverse culture/class came to the mountains where i live, saw with their 19/20/21/21/23 years old eyes what we had been living with for generations. today things are different because they saw and felt the injustices of industrialism across the generations. this has reduced the isolation and given a voice to people in communities of place , in central appalachia, this along with other actions implemented by citizens of the hollows and ridges has made change happen. i feel it leads the way to implementing better stewardship of land and people.

  15. Johnmishal says:

    President Obama needs to do the right thing. Keep your campaign promises to the people. Protect our environment. Think about your own children’s futures.

  16. Gallagher59 says:

    The Republicans knows that Charles and David Koch are against Climate change and donated huge sum of money to the Republicans Campiagn to fight against Climate Change.
    The Republicans are now for Keystone XL PIPLINE WHY?, because its a Republicans Trick.
    If President Obama is not re-elected, and a Republicans is elected the Bill will be repeal by the Republicans. they think they are so smart, NOT.

    Veto the Job Benefits Bill if it contain Keystone XL PIPLINE, and by the way doesn’t create full time jobs, those jobs are temprary jobs thats if you still alive after drinking the water and etc.

  17. Thanes says:

    The only solution is political. Without a carbon tax, cap and trade or carbon ban, there is no way to keep all this carbon in the ground. No way.

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