June 22 Press Release

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.”

The letter’s signatories, who include some of the continent’s most prominent scientists, writers, and indigenous activists, ask citizens to come to Washington for entirely peaceful and dignified protest. They call the proposed pipeline a “1500-mile fuse to the continent’s biggest carbon bomb,” and one signatory–the climate scientist James Hansen–pointed out that there’s enough carbon in the tar sands, were it all burned, to increase the atmospheric concentration of CO2 by nearly 50%. If the tar sands get fully developed, said Hansen, “it is essentially game over” for the climate.

“I was fascinated to read Al Gore’s essay this morning,” said McKibben. “The last thing we want to do is harass the president–instead we’re asking people to dig those Obama buttons out of their closet and wear them when they protest. The president asked supporters to keep pressuring him once he was in office, and we’re going to try and make it clear there is real support for action on climate.”

Signatories of the letter include Maude Barlow, Wendell Berry, Tom Goldtooth, Danny Glover, James Hansen, Wes Jackson, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, George Poitras, David Suzuki, Gus Speth.

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