What's Next for Tar Sands Action

News — the tar sands action team November 18, 2011 @ 4:31 pm


It’s been one week since we got the good news about the President’s decision to send back Keystone XL for re-review, likely killing the project. I hope you took a few days to rest and enjoy the taste of a victory – it’s quite well deserved.

The Tar Sands Action organizing team has had a few meetings to talk about what should come next for us. As organizers, we got involved with this campaign because it is part of the movement to stop climate change – a movement we have all been a part of for years. From that perspective, two things are clear to us:

First: We did something remarkable.
No one expected us to accomplish as much as we did – and we did it with incredible grace, class and power. We have a lot to learn from each other.

Second: This is not a permanent victory. Even if the pipeline is dead (and we think it is), there will be more projects like it – or others just as dangerous – proposed very soon. We should figure out how to use this momentum to keep building the movement.

That’s all we know. It’s up to all of us to figure it out what to do next together. Instead of visiting Obama offices, we will hold a nationwide Movement Strategy Session to figure out what comes next.

Here’s the plan:

On November 30th, we’d like to invite you to host Movement Strategy Session with your local network to talk about about what should come next.

We’ll begin with a live video chat led by the organzing team that will lay out some of the ideas we have about what we could do next. This will outline a few possible campaigns, how they relate to Keystone XL and the tar sands, and what we could do to take action on each.

Then, each local strategy session will hold a discussion about what they think should happen next. Later, on December 5th we’ll all come together for a joint reportback on a nationwide conference call to get a sense of what people want to do nationally.

Can you lead a Movement Strategy Session? Sign up here to lead an event.

We can help you get the word out about events with an email to other Tar Sands Action folks nearby. The organizing team has materials that can help you lead the discussion about planning for the next steps. Folks from the organizing team will also be available that evening to chat and answer any questions you may have as well.

After our conference call, the organizing team – Bill, Daniel, Duncan, Jamie, Joshua, Linda, Matt and Rae – will huddle, talk with our allies, get feedback from folks who couldn’t make it to an event, then come to a decision about our next step before everyone takes a break for the holidays.  Of course, you will be the first to know what comes next.

That’s the plan.

To join the live chat, to to this site at 7 PM Eastern on Nov. 30th and hit play (we’ll send you a reminder too): http://www.tarsandsaction.org/video-chat

To host an event, click here: http://events.tarsandsaction.org/strategy/signup

Thanks for all you’ve done to bring us to this point. We have a lot left to do together. Let’s talk soon.



Indigenous Environmental Network Continues Fight against Keystone XL

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team @ 3:40 pm

Throughout this struggle, the Tar Sands Action has been grateful for the support from our allies the Indigenous Environmental Network. Next month they will bring their message to the President himself at the White House Tribal Summit. Here is their message, from their Facebook Page: On December 2, 2011 IEN will support half a dozen Tribal Leaders to hand deliver the Mother Earth Accord to President Obama at the White House Tribal Summit. No pipelines now, not in 18 months Not Ever-Shut Down the Tar Sands! Here is a video celebrating this small victory of stalling the project…we still have…


Save the Delaware River from Fracking

News — the tar sands action team November 15, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

This post is from our friend and Tar Sands Action arrestee Josh Fox, who directed the documentary Gasland. Josh is organizing a big action against hydrofracking gas drilling in Trenton, NJ on Nov. 21st that is a crucial next step for our movement. Our fights are deeply linked – gas from hydrofracking is a key ingredient for tar sands oil extraction, and hundreds of fracking activists joined us on Nov. 6th in DC. I’ll be at the action and I hope to see you there. – Duncan

Dear friends,

We’ve come a long way in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline. Thanks to your commitment to bold action, the President sent the pipeline back for a lengthy and thorough review that will hopefully mean the end of the project.

But we won’t stop here — we’ll fight extreme energy projects wherever they are, whether they’re in Canada, India or right next door in the Delaware River Basin.

You’ve probably heard about hydrofracking (“fracking” for short), which involves pumping chemical sludge deep underground in order to fracture shale and collect natural gas. Fracking is not only one of the most destructive forms of extreme energy development, contaminating drinking water, spewing hazardous air pollution and greenhouse gases, and creating a health crisis; It’s a worldwide scourge that pushes us farther away from the renewable energy future that we need.

On November 21st the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) will vote on a plan that will allow for 20,000 or more fracked gas wells in the Delaware River Basin.
The DRBC has representatives from the governors of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

The commission will be making their decision at a meeting that will have no public comment period, so I’m helping to organize another big, bold action to make sure our voices are heard in this process – before they frack our water for good. Can you join me in Trenton for a massive action to stop fracking on Nov. 21st?

Click here to learn more and sign up for the action

Here are the details:

What: Rally at the Delaware River Basin Commission
When: November 21, 8 am
Where: Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive Trenton, N.J.


Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street

News — the tar sands action team @ 10:11 am

It was shocking to see the New York police raid the peaceful and nonviolent headquarters of the Occupy movement in lower Manhattan early this morning. They may imagine that in so doing they’re stamping something out. This is not the case. Just as it boosted the pipeline fight when many of us had to go off to jail, so too will this only add steam to the Occupy movement worldwide.

We stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street – their fight is our fight. Bill McKibben is visiting Occupy Vancouver this evening, as part of the ongoing fight against pipelines out of the tarsands; he’ll be bringing our message of solidarity with the whole Occupy movement. As he said when he spoke through the human microphone early in the New York occupation, “since Wall Street has been occupying the atmosphere for many years, it’s entirely necessary that we occupy Wall Street.”

Please visit http://occupywallst.org/ for more info, and follow @occupywallstNYC on Twitter for latest updates from New York.


The news coming out of Nebraska

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team November 14, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

We’re watching the news coming out of Nebraska closely this evening. It looks like TransCanada is agreeing to a re-route around the Sand Hills and a new Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the state of Nebraska. We’re going to be waiting on clarification from the White House on what this means for the federal process, but our understanding at the moment is that this decision does nothing to replace the need for the State Department to conduct a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the re-route, as well as a new national interest determination process that takes into account climate change and a variety of other concerns.

Here’s a reaction from Bill McKibben:

“We’re awfully happy that the Ogalalla Aquifer is going to be safe, and the Sand Hills, and that only leaves the entire atmosphere of the planet to worry about. We’re expecting White House clarification tomorrow on the process, and what we expect to hear from them is: whatever happens with the State Department Environmental Impact Statement, there is going to be a full consideration of climate and public health issues surrounding tar sands oil before any presidential permit is granted.”


Big news: We won. You won.

News — the tar sands action team November 10, 2011 @ 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


Big Announcement Today

Uncategorized — the tar sands action team @ 2:32 pm

There’s going to be a big announcement this afternoon about the Keystone XL pipeline, happening within the next hour.

We’re going to have an official reaction soon. Follow @tarsandsaction for updates on Twitter.

Media, please grab Daniel and Jamie’s contact info on the press page and give us a ring.


Media Hits from Nov. 6th Tar Sands Action

News — the tar sands action team @ 1:51 pm
Here is a full list of media mentions for the Nov. 6th Tar Sands Action at the White House:

Domestic Workers Say No to Keystone XL

News — the tar sands action team @ 12:10 pm

Originally appeared at http://www.domesticworkers.org/we-need-real-jobs-solutions-not-the-keystone-xl-pipeline

New York City November 4, 2011: The National Domestic Workers Alliance and the NY State-based Domestic Workers United today declared their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, and urged the State Department to deny approval of the project.

The domestic workers’ statement noted, “Many of our members come to the U.S. from countries already severely impacted by climate change and environmental devastation. If approved and constructed, the Keystone XL pipeline will have a huge impact on our communities, on First Nation communities, on global greenhouse gas emissions, and risks major contamination of the largest freshwater aquifer in North America.”

The statement follows President Obama’s November 2 statement on Keystone XL, when he announced that Nebraskans and the American people are not going to “take a few thousand jobs if it means that our kids are potentially drinking water that would damage their health or rich land that’s so important to agriculture in Nebraska are being adversely affected.”

The decision by the domestic workers follows the stance taken by the Amalgamated Transit Union and Transport Workers Union who in mid August issued a joint statement opposing Keystone XL and called for a Green New Deal to create jobs and meet social and environmental needs.


Al Gore Supports Tar Sands Action at the White House

News — the tar sands action team @ 11:23 am

This post originally appeared at Al’s Journal.

Thousands of protestors surrounded the White House last weekend demanding Barack Obama block the tars sands pipeline because of its implications for worsening the climate crisis:

“Thousands of protesters gathered in Lafayette Square across from the White House on Sunday to oppose a plan for a transnational oil pipeline they fear could harm the environment.”

“At one point, the crowd linked hands to surround the White House, keeping up pressure on President Barack Obama as his administration decides whether to approve the massive Keystone XL project.”

“Demonstrators chanted “yes we can, stop the pipeline,” while other protesters carried a plastic tube simulating the pipeline that would run 1,700 miles through six states. The protest drew support from actor Mark Ruffalo, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner John Adams and NASA scientist James Hansen, each of whom spoke to the crowd.”

“The proposed pipeline by developer TransCanada Corp. would carry oil derived from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas. Opponents say it would bring “dirty oil” that requires huge amounts of energy to extract and could cause an ecological disaster in case of a spill. They are calling on Obama to block the $7 billion project, which is currently being reviewed by the State Department.”

“Obama missed most of the protest while he played golf at Fort Belvoir in Virginia during the afternoon.”

“Dan Quigley, a freshman at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, traveled by bus with about 40 students to attend the protest. The 19-year-old said the pipeline could have an adverse effect on greenhouse gases and pose a hazard to water supplies.”

As I have written before, the tar sands are the dirtiest source of liquid fuel on the planet. President Obama should listen to the voices of those outside the White House and block this dirty energy pipeline.


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