A 10-minute film about the growing grassroots movement against the Keystone XL Pipeline. The pipeline’s proposed route from Canada to Texas crosses some of the nation’s most valuable and sensitive land and water resources, including the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies drinking water for millions of Americans and 30% of the groundwater used for agriculture in the US.
Tar Sands Action returned to Washington D.C on Sunday, November 6. More than 10,000 concerned citizens circled the White House carrying a giant inflated pipeline to show President Obama that they want the President to deny TransCanada a permit for their proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
The event, which fell exactly one year before the upcoming presidential election, follows multiple demonstrations that have been organized in recent months for Tar Sands Action’s Stop Keystone XL campaign, including a highly publicized two-week sit-in at the White House in which 1,253 people were arrested. No arrests occurred on Sunday, however, as Tar Sands Action obtained a legal permit for the rally and worked with police on the demonstration.
“There will be no need for civil disobedience, and we don’t intend for arrests to be any part of this demonstration,” the activist group stated on their website prior to the event. Demonstrators were additionally urged to remain “civil and peaceful, as acting in a dignified manner is as serious as these issues are.”
Those opposing Keystone XL’s approval, including high-level Obama campaign donors who have threatened to withdraw their support for his re-election, have been especially vocal about the possibility of disastrous spills and leaks should the pipeline be built. Its proposed route crosses some of the nation’s most valuable and sensitive land and water resources, including the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies drinking water for millions of Americans and 30% of the groundwater used for agriculture in the US. Whether the pipeline’s construction will produce a significant number of American jobs or reduce Middle-East oil dependency has also been subject to debate.
“What they’ve been using to force [the pipeline] on the American people is lies–one of them is that it was going to create 250,000 jobs,” actor Mark Ruffalo stated in an interview during the protest. “Well, that was an industry talking point. When we really looked into those numbers, when we started to do the work the media should be doing before they start repeating these bogus claims, we found out that it’s really 5,000 jobs. In New York State right now, we have the Solar Jobs Bill that will create 22,000 jobs. When you extrapolate that throughout the United States, [you find] the real way to get to jobs in this country is to create a national renewable energy policy that will fight climate change and put people back to work.”
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and lead spokesman for Tar Sands Action, said, “President Obama promised to fight for the climate and now without Congress in the way, he can actually do it.”
McKibben already has new protests in the works to continue the fight against the Keystone XL. This week, he reported plans for a large demonstration at the Obama for America headquarters in Chicago on November 16 and proposed that on November 28, activists make visits to their local Obama 2012 campaign office to tell them that they expect the President to live up to his promise to end the “tyranny of oil” and reject the pipeline.