Big news: We won. You won.

News — the tar sands action team November 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm
Um, we won. You won. Not completely. The president didn’t outright reject the pipeline permit. My particular fantasy–that he would invite the 1253 people arrested on his doorstep in August inside the gates for a victory picnic by the vegetable garden–didn’t materialize. But a few minutes ago the president sent the pipeline back to the State Department for a thorough re-review, which most analysts are saying will effectively kill the project. The president explicitly noted climate change, along with the pipeline route, as one of the factors that a new review would need to assess. There’s no way, with an honest review, that a pipeline that helps speed the tapping of the world’s second-largest pool of carbon can pass environmental muster. And he has made clear that the environmental assessment won’t be carried out by cronies of the pipeline company–that it will be an expert and independent assessment. We will watch that process like hawks, making sure that it doesn’t succumb to more cronyism. Perhaps this effort will go some tiny way towards cleaning up the Washington culture of corporate dominance that came so dramatically to light here in emails and lobbyist disclosure forms. It’s important to understand how unlikely this victory is. Six months ago, almost no one outside the pipeline route even knew about Keystone. One month ago, a secret poll of “energy insiders” by the National Journal found that “virtually all” expected easy approval of the pipeline by year’s end.  As late as last week the CBC reported that Transcanada was moving huge quantities of pipe across the border and seizing land by eminent domain, certain that its permit would be granted. A done deal has come spectacularly undone. The American people spoke loudly about climate change and the president responded. There have been few even partial victories about global warming in recent years so that makes this an important day. The president deserves thanks for making this call–it’s not easy in the face of the fossil fuel industry and its endless reserves of cash. The deepest thanks, however, go to you: to our indigenous peoples who began the fight, to the folks in Nebraska who rallied so fiercely, to the scientists who explained the stakes, to the environmental groups who joined with passionate common purpose, to the campuses that lit up with activity, to the faith leaders that raised a moral cry, to the labor leaders who recognized where our economic future lies, to the Occupy movement that helped galvanize revulsion at insider dealing, and most of all to the people in every state and province who built the movement that made this decision inevitable. Our fight, of course, is barely begun. Some in our movement will say that this decision is just politics as usual: that the president wants us off the streets – and off his front lawn – until after the election, at which point the administration can approve the pipeline, alienating its supporters without electoral consequence. The president should know that If this pipeline proposal somehow reemerges from the review process we will use every tool at our disposal to keep it from ever being built; if there’s a lesson of the last few months, both in our work and in the Occupy encampments around the world, it’s that sometimes we have to put our bodies on the line. We need to let the president and oil companies know that we’re ready to take action should they try to push this pipeline through in a couple of years. There’s a pledge to take nonviolent action against the pipeline up on our site, and I’ll be keeping your names an emails safely stored away so that you’ll be the first to know about anything we need to do down the road. You can sign the pledge here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/pledge In the meantime, since federal action will be in abeyance for a long stretch, we need to figure out how best to support our Canadian brothers and sisters, who are effectively battling against proposed pipelines west from the tar sands to the Pacific. And we need to broaden our work to take on all the forms of ‘extreme energy’ now coming to the fore: mountaintop removal coal mining, deepsea oil drilling, fracking for gas and oil. We’ll keep sending you updates from tarsandsaction.org; you keep letting us know what we need to do next. Last week, scientists announced that the planet had poured a record amount of co2 into the atmosphere last year; that’s a sign of how desperate our battle is. But we take courage from today’s White House announcement; it gives us some clues about how to fight going forward. And I simply can’t say thank you enough. I know, because of my own weariness, how hard so many of you have worked. It was good work, done in the right spirit, and it has secured an unlikely victory. You are the cause of that victory; you upended enormous odds. I’m going to bed tired tonight. But I’ll get up in the morning ready for the next battle, more confident because I know you’re part of this fight too. Bill McKibben, for tarsandsaction.org
  1. SRL says:

    This is great! However, Bill, I think you should have been clear from the start this is a PARTIAL victory. State Dept will continue to pursue this and a decision in early 2013 could be made by a Republican administration (groan!). And the oil industry won’t take this lying down. We desperately need to keep up and expand public awareness of the Tar Sands and build bigger opposition to its dirty oil, while promoting alternatives. This is only one small, but important victory along the way — and shows the power we can organize. But we’ll need lots more to come!

  2. NWJ says:

    what now largest shareholders of Transcanada – Royal Bank of Canada, TD, Blackrock, etc.

  3. Bob Brigham says:

    Actually, you lose. In fact, the White House concluded that you were politically clueless and they could punk you. And you decided to celebrate their analysis, proving their assessment correct.

    This isn’t just a less, it’s the White House opening mocking the environmental movement. And you’re cheering.

    This is easily the saddest day for the environment of all the dark days in this Administration. Because today, it wasn’t just the Administration deciding against the environment, it was environmental groups cheering it on.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dead. Wrong.

    • Dana Allen says:

      Bob, I totally agree. We got co-opted AGAIN! This whole Tar Sands issue will fall off the radar. Momentum will be lost. People will just go back to sleep again.

      The ONLY reason the POTUS made this decision is because of the State Department’s collusion with the XL Pipeline corporations to ram this thing through. POTUS did not want the investigation of this back room double dealing to be revealed in an investigation of the process that had already occurred. What the POTUS did today did not demonstrate integrity or having listened to the people. This action by POTUS is just another cover-up of wrong doing. This whole thing is sham. And we fell for it.

      • It’s called “playing to the base.” OR the portion of the base ready to believe Obama on this.

      • Dana, think of how expensive it is to mine and process and refine tar sands. The Venezuelan fields didn’t start being seriously exploited until after oil stayed well above $50 a barrel, and their contents don’t need to be thawed out like the Athabascan muck.

        Furthermore, the ports of British Columbia can’t accommodate supertankers, the only non-pipeline way to transport this expensively-mined stuff cost-effectively. (Which, by the way, shows that the whole “we’ll just ship it to China if you don’t let us have the pipeline” line is a lie: If they could have shipped it out of Vancouver or points north, they would have. The whole point of the pipeline is not so much to get to the refineries as to get to a port capable of handling massive oil supertankers.)

        Go here for more: http://firedoglake.com/2011/11/10/late-night-because-everything-is-connected/

    • AGM says:

      I’m sorry you’ve been spending so much energy being completely negative about this. In this movement, we so rarely celebrate the smaller victories and instead tear each other apart for not doing things another way.

      Well, Bob, the organizers and activists who are responsible for the Tar Sands Action took this from being a silent issue, something many people in the US were not aware of – something we thought was un-winnable – to a fight we may win.

      This blog isn’t declaring total victory, but it is saying that we’re doing it – we’re chipping away at this massive issue, and we may have a chance to beat this pipeline. And they are celebrating that.

      Thank you Bill and thank you to all of the organizers and activists who made this happen!

      • Babybear1997 says:

        Unfortunately, you are just pissing away a multi-hundred-billion USD progect that my dad would’ve helped bring into the US Economy, which could easily help pay off most of the US Govt.’s debt, this could EASILY help make everyone living here, and in turn around the world, a better place to live in. But no, you A**holes need to piss away this opportunity, as the American economy NEEDS this addition to help her float again. And hey, if you don’t have any better ideas on how to make the US and/or World Economies better, through NOT USING the world’s most PROFITABLE and WIDELY-USED item in the modern international market, then please tell me, I am -quite literally- all ears to hear what you have to say. But, if you don’t, then STFU and allow this to happen!

        P.S.: Seriously, if you have any realistic and potentially-successful ideas, please, quite literally, tell me, I AM willing to listen! I’d be quite grateful to, honestly, as I am always looking for ways to do things differently….

        • SocraticGadfly says:

          First, multi-hundred-billion? After the construction itself, there would have been a couple hundred permanent jobs. And, I doubt you’re really that open to dialog.

          • Carmen Rane Hudson says:

            Babybear1997: Sure thing. Natural gas. Clean burning, can fuel cars and trucks, and we have enough to be the Saudi Arabia of the new energy without going to war over it or crapping up the environment over it. Fortunately, oil companies are already seeing which way that wind is blowing and are quietly investing millions. More push could mean more shift, and it’s already creating jobs.

        • MarkH says:

          The American economy has grown steadily forever and produces much more than we need (in economic terms). But, beginning around 1980, some say 1970, the rich began taking larger and larger shares of the wealth (after tax profits), so now our economy has hardly enough wealth to run, much less grow.

          Simply sharing the wealth a bit more would solve about 80% of our problems.

          We send a lot of cash overseas for oil and having domestic energy sources would change that. The growth of domestic energy, aside from carbon-based sources, would provide jobs, keep the dollar from being watered down and help keep the environment from boiling over.

          But, Republicans have been saying “No”. Are the 99% going to take that answer or fight for the good?

  4. Mfitzgerald says:

    Sweeeeet.

  5. RWR says:

    Wonderful to see what a genuine movement can achieve. I’m grateful to Bill and all the other organizers, trainers, advisers, etc. without whom we would not have had a movement. Too many protests are one-time events after which everyone goes home and nothing is achieved. Not this one. The organizers have worked hard to keep the issue on the front burner.

  6. Nightwater16 says:

    Except that it’s not a certainty. And a delay, especially where the economic costs are still what they are, may not kill it quite yet. It makes it good on both sides for 2012, and if this gets decided by a Republican president in 2013 or one who waited for reelection so there was nothing to lose, then it’s hardly a victory. I would love to be able to say this is over, but I can’t believe that quite yet.

  7. Canuck_against_tarsands says:

    “In the meantime, we need to figure out how best to support our Canadian brothers and sisters, who are effectively battling against proposed pipelines west from the tar sands to the Pacific.”

    Please do support us! We are faced with a Conservative majority government that is viciously ramping up development of the Tar Sands while simultaneously cutting funding to Environment Canada and non-profit environment groups. This is the same government that wants to spend $9 billion on new prisons and change legislation so that pot growers will face longer prison sentences then child rapists.

    The fight for an energy efficient and just world transcends national boundaries. Please continue to help us here in Canada and elsewhere as we fight together for a better future.

  8. Drewpbalzac says:

    Environmentalists – killing jobs for the 99% and celebrating it

    • Geo. McCalip says:

      The plan that I outline above would be very beneficial to the environment while creating thousands (if not tens of thousands) of jobs.

    • Ral255 says:

      I think that is often mistaken. A study completed in 2009 at Berkeley concluded the following:[ with effective energy policy, such as this one (which puts pressure in the energy market for transitioning to renewables)]”we find that the renewable energy and low carbon sector generates more jobs than the fossil fuel-based sector per unit of energy delivered”.Renewables have the potential to greatly overtake the oil, gas, & coal market. May take a bit longer, but by 2030 there would definitely be many more jobs than there would be with a FF-based economy.

      Here is the peer-reviewed study, if you’d like to look it up: Putting renewables and energy efficiency to work:How many jobscan the clean energy industry generate in the US? Max Wei , ShanaPatadia , Daniel M.Kammena

    • Heather Garvey says:

      What is wrong with you?

  9. We are NOT giving up the fight here in Nebraska!!! Sunday at the White House just steeled my resolve all the more to see a final END of not only the KXL, but of Tarsands development in it entirety.

    It is beyond time to start the green energy revolution, be it developing the massive wind potential of Nebraska (#6 in the country) for electrical production, the continuation of the development of second generation cellulosic ethanol production to replace corn-based ethanol to keep Nebraska one of the world’s leaders in ethanol production (#2 in US, #3 in the world currently) and the re-expansion of the once blossoming bio-diesel industry which was killed at the behest of the oil companies’ lobbyists in DC.

    We must, can and WILL grow our own fuel – use clean, renewable technologies to provide power and materials – and end our oil addiction FOREVER!

    I’m a Pipeline Fighter, a Sandhills Lover and Ogallala Aquifer Lover, and I will fight for my land!

  10. Geo. McCalip says:

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
    To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― Richard Buckminster Fuller

    Why not make the existing reality of relying on fossil petroleum obsolete?

    The technology exists. Historical precedent says that we can do it in four years.

    First, let’s discuss the technology. It involves the process of pyrolysis, that is heating plant matter to a very high temperature in the absence of oxygen. This produces three things:
    Methane and other gasses (approximately 10%),
    Carbon coke (approximately 25 %), and
    Sludge (approximately 75%).

    The sludge is virtually indistinguishable from a very sweet (i.e., low sulfur) crude oil and could be run through any existing oil refinery to produce the same products the refinery would get from a similar amount of sweet crude.

    The coke could be burned to produce enough heat for the pyrolysis. In other words, unlike ethanol production, this process actually produces fuel with more energy than is required to produce the fuel.

    The methane is a bonus that could be used for power production or compressed for use in vehicles.

    To discuss the historical precedent we need to state the two objectives necessary to convert our economy:
    We need sufficient plant matter (i.e., biomass), and
    We need the pyrolysis units.

    The pyrolysis units resemble the boilers used on the liberty ships built in WW II. It would take fewer pyrolysis units than there were total liberty ships built, so setting four years as a goal for this would be very conservative.

    As for the biomass, we can once again turn to WW II for a precedent. The “Hemp for Victory” program showed just how much Americans could produce when hey needed to. By planting less than half of the fallow fields in this country with industrial hemp we could produce sufficient biomass to completely eliminate our use of fossil petroleum.

    It would take four years to bring the Keystone XL project online. In that amount of time we could have a renewable biomass system up and running.

    This system would allow us to use our existing infrastructure (i.e., gas stations, gasoline powered vehicles, etc.) but with major differences:
    1) The gasoline would be carbon neutral since the plants required to produce it would be getting their carbon from the atmosphere, not fossil sources.
    2) The resources required (i.e., the biomass) is infinitely renewable. (Technically it is only renewable until the sun dies out or goes nova, but at that point humanity will have bigger problems than finding a tank full of gasoline.)
    3) We would no longer have to depend on importing foreign oil. This would obviously benefit our balance of trade. It would also mean that we would not need to maintain a military empire to assure our access to petroleum.
    4) Hemp as a cash crop could make shifting to organic growing methods economically feasible. It could even make the family farm economically feasible.

  11. LisaBarr says:

    He does NOT deserve thanks for doing the right thing on this one issue. He deserves a kick in the ass until he ends ALL dirty energy schemes, these stupid wars, surveillance on us, killings of u.s. citizens abroad and at home, renditions, torture, and the stupid stance on cuba. now is not the time to make nice because doofus did the right thing for once.

  12. Wild Idaho Rising Tide says:

    Perhaps now, with the Keystone XL pipeline effectively delayed if not rejected, citizen activists can turn their energies and support toward halting Alberta tar sands construction projects. Through five court cases, two dozen direct actions, and numerous demonstrations, Idahoans and Montanans have stalled transportation of tar sands upgrader refinery parts over our fragile rural roads and through our wildlands. Since October 2010, Imperial Oil, a Canadian subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has shipped, barged, and trucked one hundred pieces of gargantuan, Korean-made, industrial equipment from the Ports of Vancouver and Pasco, Washington, and Lewiston, Idaho. During the next six months, Northwest interstates could be overrun by another 300 transports of these two-lane wide, 500,000-pound behemoths escorted by aggressive, industry-sponsored state police. ExxonMobil is brashly endangering travelers’ safety and convenience, challenging our highway access and civil liberties, and degrading our infrastructure and public resources. In Idaho, the reddest of the red states, we would appreciate your assistance halting this tar sands development invasion, to which Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipeline construction is only secondary.

  13. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    The entire human world must gain the maturity to
    Stop Burning Carbon
    and
    Leave it in the Ground

  14. Colleen Orsburn says:

    Thank you Tar Sands Action, 350.org, Sierra Club, Oil Change International, et al. for building the lenses to focus our energy in this action. I know it’s just a partial victory, but those are rare these days. Deep breath.

    • Mschucker says:

      I just hope that the TSA acknowledges the contribution that Occupy DC and other Occupiers made to the success and visibility of the November 6 action. I walked thru the ODC camp just before going to Lafayette Park and it was almost deserted because almost everyone was attending the TSA protest. As the march was about to start I spoke to many people, from all over the country and the world. Many were part of or at least aware of Occupy. Unfortunately, some were only concerned with Tar Sands. The Keystone pipeline is part of a much larger global problem.

  15. Peter says:

    Congratulations!

    On a personal note, I brought my wife, and my son and daughter, ages 12 and 14, and their grand father, age 82, to the inspirational encirclement of the White House.

    Everyday the XL pipeline is delayed is another 500,000 barrels of tar sands oil that is sequestered at its original location. Every single day. So this is NOT a partial victory. It is a victory. Every day of delay is a victory.

  16. JoeO says:

    Very good work, but one of the things that we must do is continue to write perceptive articles and send them to concerned media, (and reporters and editors are citizens too) across the Midwest. Where are the best sources of information? Where are the top 3 or 4 sites that give the best and most comprehensive facts?

    Send to joshaughn@aol.com if you have web locations or other sources.

  17. Sheilarea says:

    Why doesn’t anybody ever talk about using Bamboo as a biomass fuel! You literally watch that shit grow.

  18. Come to Puerto Rico and learn how the government is trying to push a gas pipeline right across the island, expropriations are the order of the day, they are rehearsing their next stage, in order to steal the land from their rightful owners because there is copper and gold there. People are against mining these lands because of all the pollution and destruction of the landscape, and when push comes to shove their only recourse to stop them will be terrorism.

  19. guest says:

    Obama will do what he has to to get re-elected. He is a politician. Don’t be naive

  20. Milan says:

    This could be another ‘closing Guantanamo’ moment. By delaying the decision until after the election, Obama can avoid alienating his base. After the election, he would have a much freer hand to approve the pipeline.

    Of course, if Obama loses, the Republican president is likely to approve the pipeline regardless of how many protests take place.

  21. Milan says:

    This could be another ‘closing Guantanamo’ moment. By delaying the decision until after the election, Obama can avoid alienating his base. After the election, he would have a much freer hand to approve the pipeline.

    Of course, if Obama loses, the Republican president is likely to approve the pipeline regardless of how many protests take place.

    • Obama’s supporters have been disappointed many times, when he has failed to keep overt promises on things like climate change mitigation and gay rights. There is a significant danger here that Obama is setting himself up to betray his supporters again – suggesting that the pipeline might be nixed, taking advantage of their donations and volunteering efforts during the election, and then turning around and approving the thing anyway. He may be banking on the protest movement losing momentum by that time, or he may simply be pessimistic about his hopes of re-election and doing whatever he can to delay decisions that will upset one group or another, regardless of what he chooses.

      The reason why the movement against Keystone XL has been so successful so far is because the Obama administration has been made to realize that many of their most passionate supporters are also passionate about stopping the pipeline. The Obama 2012 campaign will require enthusiasm from core supporters, if he is to have a good chance of defeating his Republican rival. For that reason, I think the Keystone campaigners should keep the pressure on and tell Obama that they will not volunteer, donate, or vote for him unless he agrees before the election to block this senseless pipeline. The arguments against it are overwhelming, and this could be the one substantial contribution he makes in his first (or only?) term to dealing with climate change.

      This is the time when Obama’s core supporters still have leverage, because he needs their support for the election. Afterward, when the pressure is off and he knows he will never have to face the voters in another presidential contest, he will be free to betray the people who helped him earlier. If he wants energetic support, he needs to give his base some reason for believing in him again. Blocking Keystone XL would be an excellent way of doing that.

    • Obama’s supporters have been disappointed many times, when he has failed to keep overt promises on things like climate change mitigation and gay rights. There is a significant danger here that Obama is setting himself up to betray his supporters again – suggesting that the pipeline might be nixed, taking advantage of their donations and volunteering efforts during the election, and then turning around and approving the thing anyway. He may be banking on the protest movement losing momentum by that time, or he may simply be pessimistic about his hopes of re-election and doing whatever he can to delay decisions that will upset one group or another, regardless of what he chooses.

      The reason why the movement against Keystone XL has been so successful so far is because the Obama administration has been made to realize that many of their most passionate supporters are also passionate about stopping the pipeline. The Obama 2012 campaign will require enthusiasm from core supporters, if he is to have a good chance of defeating his Republican rival. For that reason, I think the Keystone campaigners should keep the pressure on and tell Obama that they will not volunteer, donate, or vote for him unless he agrees before the election to block this senseless pipeline. The arguments against it are overwhelming, and this could be the one substantial contribution he makes in his first (or only?) term to dealing with climate change.

      This is the time when Obama’s core supporters still have leverage, because he needs their support for the election. Afterward, when the pressure is off and he knows he will never have to face the voters in another presidential contest, he will be free to betray the people who helped him earlier. If he wants energetic support, he needs to give his base some reason for believing in him again. Blocking Keystone XL would be an excellent way of doing that.

    • Obama’s supporters have been disappointed many times, when he has failed to keep overt promises on things like climate change mitigation and gay rights. There is a significant danger here that Obama is setting himself up to betray his supporters again – suggesting that the pipeline might be nixed, taking advantage of their donations and volunteering efforts during the election, and then turning around and approving the thing anyway. He may be banking on the protest movement losing momentum by that time, or he may simply be pessimistic about his hopes of re-election and doing whatever he can to delay decisions that will upset one group or another, regardless of what he chooses.

      The reason why the movement against Keystone XL has been so successful so far is because the Obama administration has been made to realize that many of their most passionate supporters are also passionate about stopping the pipeline. The Obama 2012 campaign will require enthusiasm from core supporters, if he is to have a good chance of defeating his Republican rival. For that reason, I think the Keystone campaigners should keep the pressure on and tell Obama that they will not volunteer, donate, or vote for him unless he agrees before the election to block this senseless pipeline. The arguments against it are overwhelming, and this could be the one substantial contribution he makes in his first (or only?) term to dealing with climate change.

      This is the time when Obama’s core supporters still have leverage, because he needs their support for the election. Afterward, when the pressure is off and he knows he will never have to face the voters in another presidential contest, he will be free to betray the people who helped him earlier. If he wants energetic support, he needs to give his base some reason for believing in him again. Blocking Keystone XL would be an excellent way of doing that.

      • Lpaigeg says:

        Milan, your analysis is right on. Still, a delay is a good thing. The oil companies lose potential profits, or time, anyway. The decision also gives us more time to educate people about the horrors of tarsands. As for Obama I have seen floating around somewhere a petition that thanks Obama but also pledging civil disobedience if the project is opposed in 2013. It is possible the no pressure thiing should he get re-elected could work in our favor. There would be no reason to pander to or compromise with Republicans anymore.

    • Obama’s supporters have been disappointed many times, when he has failed to keep overt promises on things like climate change mitigation and gay rights. There is a significant danger here that Obama is setting himself up to betray his supporters again – suggesting that the pipeline might be nixed, taking advantage of their donations and volunteering efforts during the election, and then turning around and approving the thing anyway. He may be banking on the protest movement losing momentum by that time, or he may simply be pessimistic about his hopes of re-election and doing whatever he can to delay decisions that will upset one group or another, regardless of what he chooses.

      The reason why the movement against Keystone XL has been so successful so far is because the Obama administration has been made to realize that many of their most passionate supporters are also passionate about stopping the pipeline. The Obama 2012 campaign will require enthusiasm from core supporters, if he is to have a good chance of defeating his Republican rival. For that reason, I think the Keystone campaigners should keep the pressure on and tell Obama that they will not volunteer, donate, or vote for him unless he agrees before the election to block this senseless pipeline. The arguments against it are overwhelming, and this could be the one substantial contribution he makes in his first (or only?) term to dealing with climate change.

      This is the time when Obama’s core supporters still have leverage, because he needs their support for the election. Afterward, when the pressure is off and he knows he will never have to face the voters in another presidential contest, he will be free to betray the people who helped him earlier. If he wants energetic support, he needs to give his base some reason for believing in him again. Blocking Keystone XL would be an excellent way of doing that.

    • Obama’s supporters have been disappointed many times, when he has failed to keep overt promises on things like climate change mitigation and gay rights. There is a significant danger here that Obama is setting himself up to betray his supporters again – suggesting that the pipeline might be nixed, taking advantage of their donations and volunteering efforts during the election, and then turning around and approving the thing anyway. He may be banking on the protest movement losing momentum by that time, or he may simply be pessimistic about his hopes of re-election and doing whatever he can to delay decisions that will upset one group or another, regardless of what he chooses.

      The reason why the movement against Keystone XL has been so successful so far is because the Obama administration has been made to realize that many of their most passionate supporters are also passionate about stopping the pipeline. The Obama 2012 campaign will require enthusiasm from core supporters, if he is to have a good chance of defeating his Republican rival. For that reason, I think the Keystone campaigners should keep the pressure on and tell Obama that they will not volunteer, donate, or vote for him unless he agrees before the election to block this senseless pipeline. The arguments against it are overwhelming, and this could be the one substantial contribution he makes in his first (or only?) term to dealing with climate change.

      This is the time when Obama’s core supporters still have leverage, because he needs their support for the election. Afterward, when the pressure is off and he knows he will never have to face the voters in another presidential contest, he will be free to betray the people who helped him earlier. If he wants energetic support, he needs to give his base some reason for believing in him again. Blocking Keystone XL would be an excellent way of doing that.

    • Obama’s supporters have been disappointed many times, when he has failed to keep overt promises on things like climate change mitigation and gay rights. There is a significant danger here that Obama is setting himself up to betray his supporters again – suggesting that the pipeline might be nixed, taking advantage of their donations and volunteering efforts during the election, and then turning around and approving the thing anyway. He may be banking on the protest movement losing momentum by that time, or he may simply be pessimistic about his hopes of re-election and doing whatever he can to delay decisions that will upset one group or another, regardless of what he chooses.

      The reason why the movement against Keystone XL has been so successful so far is because the Obama administration has been made to realize that many of their most passionate supporters are also passionate about stopping the pipeline. The Obama 2012 campaign will require enthusiasm from core supporters, if he is to have a good chance of defeating his Republican rival. For that reason, I think the Keystone campaigners should keep the pressure on and tell Obama that they will not volunteer, donate, or vote for him unless he agrees before the election to block this senseless pipeline. The arguments against it are overwhelming, and this could be the one substantial contribution he makes in his first (or only?) term to dealing with climate change.

      This is the time when Obama’s core supporters still have leverage, because he needs their support for the election. Afterward, when the pressure is off and he knows he will never have to face the voters in another presidential contest, he will be free to betray the people who helped him earlier. If he wants energetic support, he needs to give his base some reason for believing in him again. Blocking Keystone XL would be an excellent way of doing that.

    • Obama’s supporters have been disappointed many times, when he has failed to keep overt promises on things like climate change mitigation and gay rights. There is a significant danger here that Obama is setting himself up to betray his supporters again – suggesting that the pipeline might be nixed, taking advantage of their donations and volunteering efforts during the election, and then turning around and approving the thing anyway. He may be banking on the protest movement losing momentum by that time, or he may simply be pessimistic about his hopes of re-election and doing whatever he can to delay decisions that will upset one group or another, regardless of what he chooses.

      The reason why the movement against Keystone XL has been so successful so far is because the Obama administration has been made to realize that many of their most passionate supporters are also passionate about stopping the pipeline. The Obama 2012 campaign will require enthusiasm from core supporters, if he is to have a good chance of defeating his Republican rival. For that reason, I think the Keystone campaigners should keep the pressure on and tell Obama that they will not volunteer, donate, or vote for him unless he agrees before the election to block this senseless pipeline. The arguments against it are overwhelming, and this could be the one substantial contribution he makes in his first (or only?) term to dealing with climate change.

      This is the time when Obama’s core supporters still have leverage, because he needs their support for the election. Afterward, when the pressure is off and he knows he will never have to face the voters in another presidential contest, he will be free to betray the people who helped him earlier. If he wants energetic support, he needs to give his base some reason for believing in him again. Blocking Keystone XL would be an excellent way of doing that.

  22. Milan says:

    This could be another ‘closing Guantanamo’ moment. By delaying the decision until after the election, Obama can avoid alienating his base. After the election, he would have a much freer hand to approve the pipeline.

    Of course, if Obama loses, the Republican president is likely to approve the pipeline regardless of how many protests take place.

  23. Milan says:

    This could be another ‘closing Guantanamo’ moment. By delaying the decision until after the election, Obama can avoid alienating his base. After the election, he would have a much freer hand to approve the pipeline.

    Of course, if Obama loses, the Republican president is likely to approve the pipeline regardless of how many protests take place.

  24. concerned says:

    btgog
    Just thinking how the 1% will not be nearly as affected by the high price of Gasoline as most of us… How many Americans run through the majority of their disposable income just filling the tank to get to school/work.
    any slowing of the pipeline is keeping bread of thousands of american’s tables. whatever environmental damage is being done can be much sooner fixed by a robust economy then by a nation of paupers who cannot afford to protect our resources

    • Michaelg1122 says:

      Hello “Concerned,”
      Thank you for your concern. I would like to address what you had to say:
      Firstly, Keystone XL would not be an economic win for the country. Most of the jobs it would create (only 6,000 according to the relatively pro-pipeline State Department) would be temporary, and might come at the expense of long-lasting “green jobs”. Furthermore, gas prices will not be reduced because of Keystone XL as the pipeline would open tar sands oil to more markets, thereby causing demand to increase.

  25. Dusty Hinz says:

    Is this a victory for us? Yes, a small one. What I really think this exposes is the weak, centrist, coward of a politician that President Obama is. It’s more of a cop-out than a victory. This is Democratic centrist posturing and President Obama’s brand of political timidity at its finest. We all know that for the sake of the sustainable future of the planet, this is a complete no-brainer decision. President Obama, first and foremost, is a vote-thirsty politician that stands on no basic moral principles, and makes decisions solely on the Machiavellian whims that will maintain his popularity and gain him votes. And you know what? I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THAT. From our perspective, certainly, this is a small victory, and I commend the great mobilizing effort that Tar Sands Action put together. But from President Obama’s perspective, he saw this issue as politically problematic, and in accordance with his hollow soul and non-existent courage, he did exactly what political expedience told him to do.

    Everyone at the White House this passed Sunday (I was there) knows that we are in desperate need of some kind of massive Green New Deal mixed with McKibben’s Deep Economy. AND WE NEEDED THIS YESTERDAY. These are epic times. Read Eaarth. Frankly, this passed weekend I would have liked to hear more of what Klein said on Saturday night about creating a “new model,” because that is exactly what we need. We need 50 million organic farmers in the country coast to coast within 20 years. Community currencies and alternative exchange systems. Permaculture. Transition Towns.

    We all know what we are facing, and barring some unforeseen change, we all know that President Obama is not going take the firm, principled, and paradigm-shifting stand that our children’s children are depening on.

  26. Julius says:

    We Won? Really? If the Keystone XL Pipeline is a disaster in the making it should be canceled immediately. There’s no reason to wait a week, a month or a year. That should be the goal, STOP this devastating and climate-changer catastrophe now. Global Heating and Melting will be irreversible once the tar sands oil fields are unleashed upon the planet. Why not launch a nationwide or worldwide boycott of all things Canadian? Let an economic deluge upon Canada determine the decision to maintain an ecological disaster that will someday be compared to Chernobyl as one of the worst environmental events in history.

    from: Julius

    Fluvanna County, Virginia

  27. elevine says:

    WIn? Not win? All I know is that here in Nebraska, where TC had already started work, the bulldozers are silent. We live to fight another day!

  28. Aaron says:

    Great news! Let’s hope that a pipeline too long delayed will be a pipeline denied.

  29. LorenzoStDuBois says:

    This will be a hysterical post to revisit around July of 2013. Obama is so clearly a corrupt corporate bagman that I cannot help but be amazed by the naivete here. He put it on hold in a gambit that idiot environmentalists would buy his ridiculous rhetoric, and I’ll bet even he can’t believe his good fortune. I mean, he’s literally delaying it until after the election!! How blatant can you get?

    There’s nothing wrong with firing up the troops, and I think it’s appropriate now. The tone here is just laughable though. It’s a great first step. But it isn’t enough.

    I’ll see you all in 2013 though.

  30. Compliancecampaign says:

    We won? By delaying the decision? Perhaps it is a victory in the sense that it is an acknowledgement that public pressure has affected their plans to some degree, but until the pipeline is actually stopped, I don’t see how you can say “we won.” Obama always does this — delays the decision and then makes the decision that he was always going to make, which in this case is going to be approving the pipeline.

  31. Swiftwater58 says:

    The ONLy reson Obama blocked this for the next 18 months is to get votes from the enviros, no skin off his ass to put 20,000 people out of work, just to save his own job!!!

  32. Swiftwater58 says:

    The ONLy reson Obama blocked this for the next 18 months is to get votes from the enviros, no skin off his ass to put 20,000 people out of work, just to save his own job!!!

  33. Bill Wilson says:

    No Dumbass…you and your tree-hugging limp-wristed faggots didn’t win. The US of A lost…but we’ll take you all to task when we gain the White House and your Commie Prez is back in Chicago watching Macy Day prarades.

  34. clark says:

    many thanks, your right, the starting gate is just opening. as the fight continues on so many fronts we need your updates and notices as what to do in order to stay at the front of the race ahead of those whos’ only interest is $$$.
    cc

  35. Westow3 says:

    What a loss to jobs and a more secure energy source for our country. This oil WILL BE PRODUCED with or without a pipeline to the USA. Most likely it will all go to benefit China. You and your group are so stupid. Sad.

    • Dusty Hinz says:

      Are you in incapable of seeing outside the narrow frame of our current energy paradigm, which is pathetically unsustainable? Okay, so what are we going to do when the tar sands are gone? What happens after we go to the ends of the earth for every last drop of oil and it is all gone? Have you absolutely no foresight for the future? Are you so foolish as to think that the energy/economic paradigm we have right now will always operate like this? Do you think infinite economic growth is possible on a finite planet? We have created an entire globalized industrial civilization that is unsustainable and IS GOING TO IMPLODE. And “what a loss to jobs”? We are facing a chronic unemployment problem in this country, and the minuscule amount of jobs this would create does nothing to address the larger systemic unemployment crisis we are facing in this country. NO! This group and I are not stupid, we are actually contemplating creating some kind of new model that takes into account the natural limits of earth. Unfortunately, you have internalized the mainstream culture’s blind death march towards implosion, its irrational glorification of infinite economic growth, which we know is not possible on a finite planet. You embody mindless ignorance. Sad.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Without decreased consumption there is no real relief to our oil dependence. As long as there is a world oil market and the US is a net importer of petroleum then we are at the whims of our enemies.

  37. Ina says:

    Bill McKibben should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

  38. Dusty Hinz says:

    Certainly, this is a victory for us (I would consider it on the smaller side), but the question becomes what is the next step? Do we relax? And allow this overtly weak and timid politically expedient decision to take the wind out of our sails? We all know President Obama views this issue as politically problematic, and he therefore attempted to make this absolutely imperative issue a complete non-issue for the coming 2012 election. After all the work that was put into mobilizing people for both of the recent White House actions, and considering most of us voted for President Obama in 2008, my fellow environmental comrades, doesn’t that irk you a little?

    Recognize the unique place in history that we are at right now. With what we were just able to accomplish in a relatively small time period (thank you tar sands action, and thank you Mr. McKibben), and with the Occupy movement seeming to only pick up speed, DOESN’T IT SEEM LIKE A WHOLE LOT IS POSSIBLE RIGHT NOW? MORE THAN ANY OTHER TIME IN YOUR LIFE, DON’T YOU FEEL EMPOWERED RIGHT NOW? LIKE WE CAN DO ANYTHING?

    On Saturday and Sunday I met a whole lot of cool people, and I am sure you did too. We all have an incredible network of contacts in this movement. We are living in an era where the power of our ability to organize and spread messages on the internet is incredible, and it’s only getting stronger.

    So here is my proposition: let’s not mosey around for the next year and allow this to be a non-issue. I suggest we start a new campaign that simply tells President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline by next year’s 2012 election or WE ARE NOT GOING TO VOTE FOR HIM. THAT’S IT: REJECT THIS PIPELINE OR YOU WILL NOT GET OUR VOTES.

    What do you do in chess when you check your opponent and they cleverly move out of it? YOU CHECK THEM AGAIN. (You certainly don’t wait a whole year before you make another move.)

    What do you guys think?

  39. Confused says:

    Bill: “The president explicitly noted climate change, along with the pipeline route, as one of the factors that a new review would need to assess.”.

    Guardian: “It is also not an outright victory for environmental groups. Jones said the State Department will not address the main concern of national environmental groups – climate change – in its review.”

  40. Tstark731 says:

    20,000 direct, immediate, high paying jobs sacrificed for one job-Obama’s. No-one should believe, even in a fantasy world, that this decision was about the environment, it was about Obama’s craving for re-election by attempting to avoid offending part of his dwindling support base. XL will be built, AND multiple pipelines will be built to the West Coast to serve China’s need for fuel, because this is the right thing to do—the facts are crystal clear, the effect on the environment of new Oil Sands mining technologies (SAGD for one) is so small and the economic benefits are so large, we Canadians will accelerate development of our precious resource in Northern Alberta so we can maintain our quality of life. If the opponents, who are the vocal minority with very well developed and funded social media campaigns, would only look at the facts, they would see the light.

    I am a proud Albertan and Canadian, and I, my friends, my sons and daughters and all of us who are outraged by this politically motivated decision that defies common sense will tirelessly work to support our national economy by doing our part to increase development and export of our oil to markets who wish to purchase it.

    Game on.

  41. Tbruce says:

    You mean cronyism as in SunPower, Solyndra, and hey, how about Wall Street?…You greenies are killing jobs in this Country. We have the technology and know how to make this pipeline safe!

  42. Youarestupid says:

    IF obama is re-elected (seems impossible, but with so many people that think like the author, who knows?), this pipeline will be approved within 3 months. How can people be so naive, and myopic?

  43. Anonymous says:

    we didn’t win, you didn’t win – this dipstick pollyanna-positive spin that you silly people insist on putting on everything is not helping the movement, who can possibly take you seriously? do you think that 10,000 people circling the White House in Washington on a given day represents mass mobilization? good as it is, it does not.

    this kind of intentional over-simplified stupidity & superficial nonsense just lets the air out of our tires

    and I speak as someone who was detained in Washington in September, and again in Ottawa

    oh, and by the way, Bill McKibben did NOT write the first book on global warming.

    doh!?

  44. Areslv Lv says:

    http://www.wholesaledvdsonline.com/csi-crime-scene-investigation-season-10-dvd-boxset-p-3588.html
    This show follows the nights of the detectives working at the Las Vegas Police Department Crime Scene Investigations bureau. Being the

    second busiest crime lab in America CSI officers use the best scientific and technical methods to solve puzzles and catch criminals.

  45. KatieeJane says:

    I agree , this really needs stop . I really hope they finalize there choice , and that there choice is to demolish this whole pipline all together.

  46. The funny thing is that if the pipeline is indeed cancelled then the oil will instead be shipped south by trucks… with a much larger carbon footprint than the pipeline! Sigh

You must be logged in to post a comment.


(c) 2014 Tar Sands Action | powered by WordPress