The environmental community rapidly mobilized following the State Department's controversial Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL pipeline, which is considered to be highly corrupted by TransCanada and the American Petroleum Institute. By Monday night, thousands of activists had signed up for more than 200 protest vigils across the country. Retired NASA climate scientist James Hansen calls the Keystone XL pipeline "game over for the climate," and the fight to stop it is still going strong.
Hundreds gathered on a chilly night at Lafayette Square across from the White House to tell President Obama to keep his climate promise and stand up to the fossil fuel industry by rejecting the dirty tar sands oil pipeline. Activists wanted to make it loud and clear that KXL fails the president’s climate test by potentially pumping up to 830,000 barrels of dirty oil every day from Canada through the United States to China.
Speakers included Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. of the Hip Hop Caucus, Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters, Maura Cowley, Executive Director of the Energy Action Coalition, and Deirdre Shelly, a student at American University. A staffer delivered a statement of support from Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Yearwood got the crowd fired up, saying the fight against Keystone is about giving a clean energy future to the next generation. “This is not a game. When we stand here it isn’t just because we are saying no to the Keystone pipeline. That is part of it,” said Yearwood. “What we are saying is yes to humanity. We are saying yes to future generations. We are saying yes to the next generation that will come after us and like those who fought before us, we will fight right now!”
Jacob Smith, Policy Advisor for Energy and Environment for Sen. Sanders, said the president now has to ask if the Keystone XL Pipeline is in the national interest. “America’s addiction to fossil fuels is not in our national interest. Importing huge volumes of tar sands oil from Canada so that we can turn around and export it overseas is not in our national interest. Placing hundreds of communities along the pipeline at risk of leaks or explosions or fires or pollution is not in our national interest. And catastrophic global warming is not in our national interest. I’ll tell you what is though. It is in our national interest to save money by saving energy. It is in our national interest to create tens of thousands of new clean energy jobs across the country. It is in our national interest to protect the planet from the ecological devastation of global warming.”
Check out ThinkProgress for seven key facts left out of the deeply flawed State Department report on KXL that should lead Secretary of State John Kerry and the president to reject the pipeline. There are many options to get involved in the fight to stop KXL. The following is a list of some of the groups that organized Monday night’s protest vigil and who are leading the charge against the fossil fuel industry and towards a clean energy future.
Images via Josh Marks