Sending our love to Washington DC

Washington DC is gearing up for the largest mobilisation of civil disobedience in the history of the US climate movement. Between August 20th and September 3rd, two weeks of direct action are taking place, to stop the development of a tar sands pipeline which will increase the flow of filthy bitumen to the US.

The 1,700 mile-long Keystone XL pipeline, if built, will transport oil from northern Alberta all the way down to the Gulf Coast. The pipeline is facing opposition from a variety of fronts, including farmers and landowners along the route whose livelihoods have been threatened by eminent domain (compulsory purchase). The proposed route will also cross the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest reserves of fresh water in the world, the source of drinking water for two million people. Given the recent record of spills from pipelines, there is serious concern that a rupture near this region would have devastating ramifications for the local environment and economy.

If not stopped, Keystone XL will open up the market for tar sands, encouraging further expansion of infrastructure and export to Europe and other countries. But without the pipeline, Alberta could become ‘land-locked in bitumen’, and be forced to slow its rates of extraction. So from a tar sands perspective, stopping the pipeline is a key opportunity to stop the flow of oil back at the source.

Since it was proposed in 2008, Keystone XL has faced a raft of opposition and countless delays. The decision now lies with Obama, in what may be a ‘defining moment’ for the administration. A group of prominent scientists, activists, writers and public figures have come together to call on Americans to take action to stop the pipeline:

“From August 20th – September 3rd we are planning a peaceful protest in Washington DC to defuse the largest carbon bomb in North America. With people power and time-tested tactics of civil disobedience, join thousands of people from across the continent in a wave of sustained sit-ins. Together we’ll amplify our voices and escalate the movement and stop the Keystone XL pipeline to the Canadian tar sands.”

While we can’t make it to Washington we stand fully behind the 2000+ people who have signed up to take part in this fortnight of sit-ins at the White House, risking arrest. This is particularly brave in the wake of the abhorrent 2-year prison sentence recently handed out to Tim DeChristopher for disrupting an oil and gas industry auction. Solidarity actions are taking place around the world.

If you are planning any solidarity actions please let us know. We will be keeping you updated with news from Washington and elsewhere.

UPDATE: Civil Disobedience also planned in Ottawa!

“On September 26th we need you to come to Ottawa to join a historic action to oppose the tar sands. In a large peaceful protest, many will be risking arrest to tell the Harper governmentthat we don’t support his reckless agenda; that we want to turn away from the toxic tar sands industry; and that we oppose the direction he’s taking this country. Be a part of turning Canada away from the toxic tar sands industry. Help forge the future we all want to live in.”

6 Responses to “Sending our love to Washington DC”

  1. Peter says:

    There are people who think that the attacks against the Keystone XL pipeline construction are based solely on misinformation and partisan politics and that its construction will actually give our economy a boost that it needs right now but the truth is that according to the latest news the government of Canada will not keep its promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a result of excessive oil sand production. We call ourselves an environmentally conscious nation but our government is doing everything to damage this self-stereotype of ours. That’s why the construction of the pipeline has stirred so much controversy in our country.

  2. Mary Moynihan says:

    I agree with you and am grateful for your efforts.

  3. […] lobbying the EU to accept its tar sands exports. Here in the UK grassroots activists including the UK Tar Sands Network and Climate Camp have taken action in solidarity with the Indigenous Environmental Network who […]

  4. Marc Shulman says:

    Mr President,

    I am writing to plead with you to strongly oppose the Tar Sands Pipeline. I have Multiple Sclerosis and Global Warming has significant effects on me and millions of other MS patients. This could be a disaster with monumental results. Please, Please be the President we so overwhelmingly elected and so much wants to re-elect in 2012.

    Your loyal constituant,

    Marc Shulman

  5. Raymond Dukes says:

    Dear Mr. President:
    This is the time to be clear. To tell the world we know there’s a smart path to a safer, cleaner and sustainable future!
    Your reelection could depend on the decision you make on this pipeline.
    YOU hold the hope of future generations in your hands!

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