Press Releases


**Wednesday, February 13 at 10:45 AM ET**

**Attention Photo/TV Desks – Great Visuals***

Contacts: Daniel Kessler / 510-501-1779 /; Eddie Scher / 415-815-7027  /

Sierra Club, and Commited Citizens to Engage in Civil Disobedience Today at White House to Stop Tar Sands, Keystone XL pipeline

What: Fifty American leaders–including Michael Brune (Sierra Club), Bill McKibben (, Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. (Hip Hop Caucus), civil rights legend Julian Bond, actress Daryl Hannah, Nebraska rancher Randy Thompson and others on the frontlines of climate change–will risk arrest in front of the White House to demonstrate the depth of their support for decisive action against climate change. For the first time in its 120-year history, the Sierra Club will participate in this civil disobedience action to convey the severity and urgency of action on climate.

Where and when:
10:30AM Media availability in Lafayette park for those risking arrest.

11:00AM Activists and supporters will gather in Lafayette park for photos and speeches.

11:30AM The civil disobedience will take place around at the East Gate of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, just east of the picture-postcard zone.

Why: 2012 was the hottest year on record, half the country is in severe drought, and Superstorm Sandy just flooded the greatest city in the world–New York. A global crisis unfolds before our eyes and immediate action is required. President Obama has the executive authority to make a significant and immediate impact on carbon pollution, and he can begin by saying no to Big Oil by rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Civil disobedience is the response of ordinary people to extraordinary injustices. Americans have righted the wrongs of our society – slavery, child labor, suffrage, segregation, and inequality for gays and immigrant workers – with creative nonviolent resistance. Climate change threatens the health and security of all Americans, and action proportional to the problem is required–now.

The full list of participants, along with photos and bios, is available at

The participants risking arrest have released the following letter to explain their collective action.

“We’re here today to show the depth of our resolve that President Obama take immediate, decisive action against climate change—to show that if the president leads, the vast majority of Americans will rally behind him. We’re not here today to protest the president, we are here to encourage and support him. We lived through horrors of Superstorm Sandy, the Midwest drought, wildfires, and the hottest year on record: we know in our bones that the time has come to do more than we have, and all that we can.

“The president can’t work miracles by himself. An obstructionist Congress stands in the way of progress and innovation. But President Obama has the executive authority and the mandate from the American people to stand up to the fossil fuel industry, and to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline right now.

“And we’re here to show something else—that the movement for a clean energy revolution is a broad and powerful one. In 2011 we were moved by the 1,253 Americans who went jail to protest Keystone in the biggest civil disobedience action in many years in this country. Today we are 50 people at the White House representing millions of Americans in every state, in every community. Today we risk arrest because a global crisis unfolds before our eyes. We have the solutions to this climate crisis. We have a moral obligation to stand stand for immediate, bold action to solve climate disruption. We can do it, and we will.”



For immediate release

Nov. 6, 2012

Environmentalists Announce New Keystone XL Demonstration at the White House on November 18

Oakland — In the wake of President Barack Obama’s re-election, environmentalists today called for a demonstration outside the White House on Nov. 18 to show the president that he has their support if he denies the permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

The demonstration will follow’s “Do the Math” event at the Warner Theatre and will feature thousands of activists, a 500-foot pipeline, and several speakers–including Bill McKibben, who led the Keystone XL protests last summer in which 1,252 people were arrested.

The full letter is below.

CONTACT: Daniel Kessler,, 510-501-1779,

Dear friends—

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, as the warmest year in American history draws to a close, as the disastrous drought lingers on in the Midwest, everyone is looking for ways to make a real difference in the fight to slow climate change. We’d like to ask you to come once more to Washington, to resume the battle to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline, mid-afternoon on Nov. 18th.

This summer President Obama took the biggest step of any president to date when he raised fuel efficiency standards — a move that will cut US greenhouse gas emissions by 10% when fully implemented. Many of you worked to make this happen. Thank you. It’s an important step in the right direction. Let’s take a few more.

As you’ll recall, your efforts last year slowed down the decision, giving the State Department more time to consider the impacts of a dangerous export pipeline that will transport one of the world’s dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels. Although they did go ahead with the southern segment, where many of our colleagues are waging a remarkable fight against its construction. But now that the election is over a decision by the President is imminent—the administration has hinted a decision could come in the first quarter of 2013.

Here’s what’s changed since last year: the Arctic has melted disastrously.

Here’s what hasn’t changed: Keystone XL is still a crazy idea, a giant straw into the second biggest pool of carbon. Even if it doesn’t spill, it would add 900,000 barrels of oil worth of carbon each day to the earth’s atmosphere, or as much as the new auto efficiency regulations would save. It would, in other words, cancel out the whole long fight to increase auto mileage. Those tar sands are still the dirtiest energy on the planet.

And more and more people are realizing it. Our brothers and sisters in Canada have effectively blocked the so-called Gateway Pipeline to Canada’s west coast. It won’t be built anytime soon, depriving the administration of their only halfway decent argument—that the oil would just go somewhere else. No, Barack Obama is now even more the man who holds the fate of the tar sands expansion in his hands.

No one needs to get arrested this time—though that may come as the winter wears on. For now we simply need to let the President know we haven’t forgotten, and that our conviction hasn’t cooled. Please be there if you possibly can.

Many thanks,

Michael Brune, Sierra Club
Naomi Klein, author
James Hansen, NASA
Tzeporah Berman, author
Jane Kleeb, BOLD Nebraska
Michael Kieschnick, Credo Mobile
Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network
Gus Speth, author and professor of law, Vermont Law School
Maura Cowley, Energy Action Coalition
Rebecca Tarbotton, Rainforest Action Network
Joe Uehlein, Labor Network for Sustainability
Mike Tidwell, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Michael Mann, Penn State University Earth System Science Center
Bill McKibben and May Boeve,
Stephen Kretzmann, Oil Change International
Bridge the Gulf Project
Tar Sands Blockade


Jamie Henn, 415-601-9337,
Daniel Kessler, 510-501-1779,

Press Releases

Nov 10, 2011

Response to News of Keystone XL Reroute 

WASHINGTON —  In response to the news that the Obama Administration will be requesting a 12-18 month review for the Keystone XL pipeline, effectively killing the project according to most analysts, Tar Sands Action had the following reactions:From activist Bill McKibben, founder of who spearheaded protests against the pipeline:

“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.

Six months ago, almost no one outside the pipeline route even knew about Keystone XL. 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.

“The president should know that nothing that happened today changes our position–we’re unequivocal in our opposition. If this pipeline proposal reemerges from the review process intact we will use every form of nonviolent civil disobedience to keep it from ever being built.

“We take courage from today’s announcement. It’s an unspoken salute to the power of people who come together in the open to demand action; it gives us some clues about how to fight going forward.”

From Jane Kleeb, founder of BOLD Nebraska, who led pipeline protests in the state:

“President Obama is making the right and tough decision. We hope he continues to consider climate, health and the impacts of extreme energy like tar sands on our land and water while creating a path to real energy independence. The bottom line is, when President Obama stands up to big oil, we stand with him.”


More information on the fight against Keystone XL:

This August, 1,253 people were arrested as part of a two-week sit-in at the White House, putting Keystone XL on the national agenda for the first time. Demonstrations spread throughout the fall, with pipeline protesters meeting President Obama at nearly every public campaign stop and visiting Obama campaign offices to make their opposition known. Last Sunday, more than 12,000 people surrounded the White House, instigating a chain reaction of administration announcements that culminated in this afternoon’s decision.

More information on what a delay means for the Keystone XL pipeline:

Most energy analysts believe that a 12-18 month delay may be fatal to the Keystone XL project. TransCanada’s President and CEO Russ Girling:

“If the administration delays the project long enough where it becomes a low probability it will ever get through the process in time to meet [the shippers’] needs. They need crude oil by a time certain.”



November 5, 2011

10,000 Will Surround White House to Protest Keystone XL Pipeline this Sunday

Mark Ruffalo, Bill McKibben, Nobel Prize and Medal of Freedom recipients, and top environmental leaders will lead demonstration

WASHINGTON – The battle over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will reach a decisive moment this Sunday when nearly 10,000 people are expected to join hands around the White House and show President Obama he has the support he needs to stand up to Big Oil and stop the pipeline.

In an interview Tuesday, President Obama took full ownership over what has become the most important environmental question facing him before the 2012 election: whether or not to grant the necessary permit for a 1,700 mile pipeline which would carry toxic tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Who: Nearly 10,000 people and top environmental leaders and celebrities, including actor Mark Ruffalo, activist Bill McKibben, Sierra Club executive director Mike Brune,  Medal of Freedom recipient and NRDC founder John Adams, Nobel Prize recipient Jody Williams, and more.

Where: Lafayette Square Park across from the White House

When: Spokespeople will be available for interviews between 1:00 – 2:00 pm, opening rally begins at 2:00 pm, crowd will encircle the White House from 3:00 – 4:30 pm, closing rally begins at 5:00 pm.

Why: President Obama is currently considering whether or not to grant a “presidential permit” for the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The project requires the special permit because it crosses an international border with Canada. The Keystone XL would carry tar sands oil, the dirtiest fuel on the planet, over 1,700 miles across America’s heartland, risking a BP-style oil spill over one of our largest sources of fresh drinking water. America’s top climate scientist says that fully exploiting the tar sands could mean “essentially game over for the climate.” This August, 1,253 people were arrested during a sit-in at the White House protesting the pipeline.


For immediate release

Oct 24, 2011

Obama hire Broderick Johnson was Keystone XL Lobbyist; “It Stinks” Says Bill McKibben

WASHINGTON, DC — Campaigners protesting the proposed Keystone XL pipeline reacted with anger today to the news that the Obama campaign had hired a former lobbyist for the pipeline as a new senior advisor to the president’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Records show that Broderick Johnson lobbied Congress on the Keystone XL pipeline while working for Bryan Cave LLP, a top lobby firm in Washington, DC. During the fourth quarter of 2010, the firm spent $120,000 working on the issue. (1) Bryan Cave LLP reported earnings of $1.08 million between 2009-2011 lobbying on behalf of pipeline company TransCanada, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. (2)

“The news about Mr. Johnson comes on top of the revelations that Hillary Clinton’s former deputy campaign manager became the lead lobbyist for the pipeline firm TransCanada, and that the State Department literally let TransCanada pick the company that would conduct the environmental review of its project,” said Bill McKibben, of, which has been spearheading protests against the pipeline. “It stinks. I don’t think you could conceive a more elaborate way to disrespect not just the environmental community but also Occupy Wall Street, because this is simply a reminder of the way that corporate lobbyists dominate our politics. Forget ‘Hope and Change’–it’s like they want their new slogan to be ‘Business as Usual.'”

McKibben said the only saving grace was that Johnson was working for the campaign, not the White House. “Maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama himself still hasn’t made up his mind about the pipeline. That’s why we’re going to surround the White House on November 6, carrying signs and banners with words from his 2008 campaign about the need to end ‘the tyranny of oil’. We want to see if we can somehow jog his memory.”

Thousands of people are expected to join the November 6 White House demonstration. Earlier this morning, Tar Sands Action released a video of actor Mark Ruffalo encouraging participants at Occupy Wall Street to join the Keystone XL protest. (3)


CONTACTS: Daniel Kessler,; Jamie Henn, jamie@350.org415-601-9337


1. Q4 Lobbying Report for Broderick Johnson:

2. TransCanada Lobbying on Open Secrets:

3. Actor Mark Ruffalo endorses Keystone XL protest:


Oct 17, 2011
Contact: Daniel Kessler, 510-501-1779, Email:

Former Obama Organizers To March on Campaign HQ, Demand Rejection of New Fossil Fuel Projects 

New York City – Current and former supporters of President Obama, including donors, campaign staff, and student leaders, are marching to the President’s 2012 Campaign office in Manhattan on today to demand that he reject two massive new fossil-fuel projects currently under review: the Keystone XL Pipeline and hydraulic fracturing regulations in the Delaware River Basin. In total, 0ver 200 people are expected.

For more information, click here


Sept 16, 2011

Protest Against Keystone XL Pipeline Spreads Across North America

WASHINGTON, DC — The fight over the Keystone XL pipeline has become the marquee environmental bout of the 2012 election season, with serious implications for President Obama’s campaign and the future of the North American environmental movement.

For more information, click here.


Sept 3, 2011

Ozone Decision Spikes Arrest Numbers at White House Pipeline Protest

WASHINGTON– The largest environmental civil disobedience in decades concluded at the White House this morning with organizers pledging to escalate a nationwide campaign to push President Obama to deny the permit for a new tar sands oil pipeline.

For more information, click here.


Aug 31, 2011

President Obama Risks Alienating Youth Voters Over Oil Pipeline

Former Obama for America youth organizers to risk arrest tomorrow at White House; Joining more than 700 already arrested to stop Keystone XL pipeline

Washington — Talk about an enthusiasm gap: a group of former Obama for America youth staffers and volunteers will lead more than 100 people in civil disobedience at the White House tomorrow to demand President Obama deny the permit for a major new tar sands oil pipeline.

For more information, click here. 


Aug 29, 2011

Largest Day of Arrests Yet at White House Pipeline Protest; NASA Climate Scientist and Religious Leaders among 140 Americans Arrested

WASHINGTON, DC – America’s top climate scientist and a large group of religious leaders were arrested at the White House this morning with 140 other Americans to push President Obama to deny the permit for a massive new oil pipeline. (1)

“If Obama chooses the dirty needle it will confirm that the President was just green-washing all along, like the other well-oiled coal-fired politicians, with no real intention of solving the addiction,” said NASA’s Dr. James Hansen, who was arrested at the White House this morning.

For more information, click here


Aug 26, 2011

54 More Arrested at White House as Environmental Community Excoriate New State Department Report

WASHINGTON, DC — As almost the entire environmental community condemned the release of the final State Department report on the environmental impact of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, another 54 Americans were arrested at the White House today to push President Obama to stand up to Big Oil and deny the pipeline the permit necessary for construction.

“The U.S. State Department’s final report on the Keystone XL today is an insult to anyone who expects government to work for the interests of the American people,” said the Sierra Club in a press release this morning. “The Sierra Club and our 1.4 million members and supporters are looking to President Obama for bold action and we urge him to reject this abomination.”

For more information, click here.


Aug 25, 2011

47 More Arrested on Eve of Potential State Department Report 

WASHINGTON, DC — Another 47 Americans were arrested at the White House today as part of an ongoing sit-in to pressure President Obama to stand up to Big Oil and deny the permit for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The total number of arrests is now at 322 people.

For more information, click here


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)

For more information, click here.


Aug 23, 2011

Actors Margot Kidder and Tantoo Cardinal among at 60 Arrested White House Pipeline Protest

WASHINGTON, DC — The iconic Canadian actors Margot Kidder and a Tantoo Cardinal were arrested this morning at 11:30 AM in Washington, DC as part of an ongoing sit-in at the White House to pressure President Obama to deny the permit for a massive new tar sands oil pipeline.

For more information, click here


Aug 20, 2011

70 People Arrested at White House to Stop Massive Oil Pipeline

WASHINGTON, DC — 70 people arrested from across the country were arrested today at the White House for taking part in a sit-in to pressure President Obama to deny the permit for a massive new oil pipeline.

Those arrested included leading environmentalist Bill McKibben, former White House official and Yale dean Gus Speth, and gay rights activist Lt. Dan Choi. Over 2,000 more people are expected to take part in similar sit-ins at the White House every day for the next two weeks. The Park Police arrested the first protestor, a young woman from Wasilla, Alaska, at 11:30 AM this morning and were still arresting people one-by-one at 12:30 AM.

For more information, click here.


Aug 19, 2011

Massive White House Sit-in Will Pressure Obama on Key Environmental Decision; Two Week Protest Begins This Saturday

WASHINGTON, DC — Bill McKibben, Mark Ruffalo, Dr. James Hansen and over 2,000 people from all 50 states are expected to take part in a two week sit-in at the White House beginning this Saturday, August 20, to pressure President Obama to deny the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The controversial 1,700 mile project would carry tar sands oil from Canada to the US and has become the most important environmental decision facing President Obama before the 2012 election.

For more information, click here.


August 7, 2011

Sen. Sanders Offers His Support for Keystone XL Protest

Washington, DC — This morning, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) added his voice to the growing opposition to the Keystone XL, a 1,700 mile pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

In a video message released by, Sen. Sanders said, “Building this pipeline will keep America addicted to oil, and while it might be a good idea for Koch Industries, which supplies and refines large volumes of Canadian tar sands oil, it is a bad deal for our country,” said Sen. Sanders.

For more information, click here


July 20, 2011

As Congress Moves to Fast-track Keystone XL Pipeline, Environmental Leaders Call for Civil Disobedience at the White House

Washington, DC — On the same day as the Republican-led House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to approve a text saying that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “should promptly authorize” the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the executive directors of leading environmental groups released a letter calling for massive sit-ins at the White House this August to pressure President Obama to deny the pipeline the permit necessary for construction.

For more information, click here


June 22, 2011

A Call for Civil Disobedience on the Keystone XL Pipeline

Washington — Eleven veteran environmentalists on both sides of the border today called for demonstrations outside the White House later this summer to block the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta.

“This is one issue where the president has total control–he has to grant or deny the necessary permits. Congress can’t get in the way” said Bill McKibben, author of the first book for a general audience on climate change. “It’s where Obama can get his environmental mojo back. But we need him to lead.”

For more information, click here.

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