Green Party Candidate Jill Stein Arrested Protesting Keystone XL Pipeline: ‘I’m Here To Connect The Dots’

by Katie Valentine

After more than two months of protests against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma, the arrest count has reached 33.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was the latest to get arrested after she brought supplies to activist treesitters attempting to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. Stein issued a statement criticizing both President Obama and Governor Romney for their policies on fossil fuels:

“I’m here to connect the dots between super storm Sandy and the record heat, drought, and fire we’ve seen this year – and this Tar Sands pipeline, which will make all of these problems much worse. And I’m here to connect the dots between climate devastation and pipeline politicians – both Obama and Romney – who are competing, as we saw in the debates, for the role of Puppet In Chief for the fossil fuel industry. Both deserve that title. Obama’s record of ‘drill baby drill’ has gone beyond the harm done by George Bush. Mitt Romney promises more of the same.”

Stein’s arrest follows the Oct. 4 arrest of 78-year-old great grandmother Eleanor Fairchild, who was charged with trespassing on her own land after standing in the path of bulldozers. Fairchild, who was joined in her protest by actress Daryl Hannah, said in a video that she blocked the bulldozers for environmental reasons beyond her land.

“This is not just about my land; it’s about all of our country,” she said. “It needs to be stopped.”

Protests and acts of civil disobedience have been going on in Texas and Oklahoma since mid-August, after construction of the pipeline’s southern leg, which runs from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast, began in Texas on Aug. 9. Activists have chained themselves to logging machinery and pipeline transportation equipment and have hung banners at equipment storage sites. On Sept. 24, eight people climbed trees outside Winnsboro, Texas and refused to come down until pipeline construction stops, beginning what is said to be the first tree blockade in Texas history. As of last week, there were two protesters living in the tree houses and platforms constructed in the 80-ft. trees, each with no plans of coming down.

Though the arrest count has remained low compared to last year’s protests at the White House, interactions between police and protesters have been far more contentious. Last month, police reportedly used pepper spray and Tasers on two protesters chained to logging equipment before eventually removing and arresting them. Tar Sands Blockade describes police interaction at the tree blockade site:

During the last month TransCanada has tried everything to deter us from doing what we know is right. They’ve encouraged police to use torture tactics, operated heavy machinery dangerously close to peaceful protestors, confiscated our cameras, hit us with a SLAPP law suit, hired local law enforcement to set up a police state around the blockade, denied us food and water, arrested journalists, subjected blockades to 24/7 surveillance and floodlights…the list goes on.

The latest round of Texas protests also comes as Canadians protested the Northern Gateway Pipeline in British Columbia. Last Wednesday, in a show of solidarity, one protester hung a banner from the gate she chained herself to, which read: “Defend All Coasts from British Columbia to the Gulf Coast.”

Katie Valentine graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Journalism. She is currently an intern with the international climate team at the Center for American Progress.

20 Responses to Green Party Candidate Jill Stein Arrested Protesting Keystone XL Pipeline: ‘I’m Here To Connect The Dots’

  1. Will says:

    Unless Stein prefers the U.S. invade more nations with oil reserves, the only policy alternative is to reduce the amount of oil we use from all sources. Obama spoke about reducing oil consumption at the last debate and his policies reflect that goal. For Stein to equate Obama and Romney on this issue is either ignorant or willfully dishonest.

  2. Will, if you read it carefully, Dr. Stein did not say that they were identical, but only that they were both inadequate for solving the huge problem that we have. Remember the words of Dr. Hansen and consider that completion of this pipeline is essentially “game over” for the climate.

    Given that as fact, what would you do to make sure that the game has another period to play? For me, I am proud of the fact that Dr. Stein had the gumption to call attention to what is happening and why.

  3. SecularAnimist says:

    Will, with all due respect, for you to say that Stein is “equating Obama and Romney” is either ignorant or willfully dishonest.

    The fact is that the Obama administration’s policies are responsible for a massive expansion of fossil fuel extraction in the USA including coal, oil and gas — and then, of course, there is the Keystone XL pipeline which Stein was arrested for protesting, which the Obama administration has supported and continues to support, which will facilitate the WORST fossil fuel extraction anywhere in the world.

    And keep in mind that the Canadian tar that will be piped through Keystone XL, like much of the coal and oil being extracted in the USA, will go to export markets.

    Yes, the Obama administration has supported efficiency and renewable energy technologies to a significant degree, and has taken some steps through the EPA towards regulating CO2 emissions. But these steps fall FAR short of what is needed to address the global warming crisis, and FAR short of what is possible.

    And meanwhile, Obama has undermined his own efforts by promoting fossil fuel extraction and spouting the coal industry’s lies about “clean coal” at every opportunity.

    Sure, Romney would be even worse — and Stein consistently acknowledges that. But that doesn’t mean that Obama should not be criticized, and it doesn’t make Stein dishonest for criticizing Obama, and it doesn’t make Stein wrong to offer an alternative.

  4. cam says:

    will- have you read Dr. Stein’s Green New Deal? her policies on how to she plans to fossil fuel dependency are pretty clear…

  5. Artful Dodger says:

    Meanwhile, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is fast-tracking a Trade treaty with China that will lock in China’s access to Canadian Tar Sands for the next 31 years!

  6. Artful Dodger says:

    The Leader of Canada’s Green Party, Member of Parliament Elizabeth May, has requested an emergency debate on FIPA in the House of Commons:

  7. Huw Peach says:

    It’s good to see Jill Stein of the Green Party forcing climate change back into a mainstream election campaign which -scandalously – refuses to acknowledge it.

  8. Will says:

    “Obama’s adopted the fossil fuel policies of George Bush and done far worse,” – Jill Stein

    That’s a lie, as you point out in your comment.

    She also said Obama was “another climate denier who basically sold out with just a little bit of window dressing”.

    Another lie. Obama was the first major party nominee to make energy and climate change a major campaign theme in ’08.

    Yes, Obama’s energy policies could be better and they deserve criticism. And, if Jill Stein is going to lie and exaggerate about Obama’s policies then she should also expect to be criticized.

  9. Will says:

    Yes. Has Jill Stein read about the clean energy and efficiency funding in Obama’s green stimulus bill? She must be unaware of it to say some of the blatantly false, outrageous claims she makes about Obama’s energy policies.

  10. Will says:

    I hope Obama doesn’t approve completion of the full pipeline. If Stein had spoken about that issue and stuck to the facts, I would have applauded her. At some point in the past four years I burned out on the cynical, dishonest exaggerations the third-party left habitually make about Obama’s policies. Accuracy matters.

  11. Ken Barrows says:

    Those who think politics is more important than culture in regard to climate change do not want to change their lifestyles.

  12. Deborah Dills says:

    Chemtrails vs. Contrails-

    Chemtrails are chemical laden with barium and aluminum and a whole lot more that are being aerosealed into our air to change the weather and poison us.
    WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THEY SPRAYING – Chemtrails Documentary

    Contrails are nothing more than ice crystals that dissipate within minutes from the back of aircraft.

  13. Mr. Anon says:

    Hi. You do make a valid point about Obama and Romney rhetorically being silent on climate change. But policy wise Obama has been far from silent on it:

    Now let us think about this for a second: what is more important, talking about climate change or doing something about it? Because in the issue of the latter, Obama has done more than all other Presidents combined. In fact, under his administration, we have cut climate emissions faster than the rest of the world.

  14. Jeff White says:

    Climate emissions have fallen because the US economy has gone into the toilet.

    Obama gives lip service to fighting climate change, but his actions speak otherwise – approval of offshore oil drilling (even in the Arctic, for chrissakes), Keystone XL (which will be approved the day after the election), scuttling international attempts to set meaningful and binding emissions targets, promoting the fraud of “clean coal”, and continuing subsidies to gas-fracking and oil companies.

  15. Mr. Anon says:

    You ignore the source I provided that shows Obama has done more to combat climate change than anyone else on the planet. Actions speak louder than words.

  16. Larry Gilman says:

    I have already voted for Stein here in Vermont (relax, Obama’s got a lock on our 3 electoral votes). I’ve also read in full the source you recommend and remain underwhelmed by Obama as climate savior. He has not only been largely silent on the subject, as your source admits, but the idea that he has “done more than anyone else on the planet” to combat climate change is silly. The new mileage standards are great, but help climate only as a side effect — such standards are aimed at reducing oil dependence and air pollution and keeping the US auto industry competitive, and would make sense regardless of climate. Which is why the CAFE standards predated any public concern about climate whatever. There is no additionality here.

    Obama has indeed been good for green energy, stimuluswise, but he’s also been good for coal, oil, and gas. His record is the equivalent of a big corporation donating money to both major parties, only in reverse. In 2010 the Administration of the man who has “done more than anyone else on the planet to fight climate change” urged the Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by 8 states against coal plants across the US, joining with the utilities and carbon barons (“the Obama administration is urging the Supreme Court to kill a major global warming lawsuit that seeks new limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants” — ). “Leave it to Congress” was supposedly the idea, except that Congress hasn’t done diddly since and we all knew it wouldn’t. Blame Republican obstructionism if you like, but the outcome was perfectly foreseeable and Obama’s interference against the 8 states therefore pure gift to the coal industry, which he has no intention of seriously hampering. Obama has equivocated on one half of Keystone and approved the other, and all sources agree that the recent US decline in GHG emissions has been mostly due to the economic slump. He has even peddled himself as the great Friend of Coal, including “clean coal,” in campaign ads ( ): Democrats who assure me that their man is actually not a friend of coal but a straight-up vote-sucking liar, in blessed reality the great Enemy of Coal, leave me, somehow, with lingering uneasiness. Go figure.

    Finally, all the pro-Obama talking points on climate action are purely domestic, slurring over the fact that internationally, he has done approximately nothing. He spoke fine words at Copenhagen in 2009: what’s happened since then? The wheels spin idly in the air, the years tick by, nothing changes. And not for lack of not trying, so to speak. Obama hailed the useless Copenhagen accord, which he backed, as an “unprecedented breakthrough,” though it was drafted behind closed doors by a few powerful nations then presented as a fait accompli to the rest, specifying “no deadline to draft a legally binding treaty, no emissions-cut requirements, and only the vaguest reference to helping countries cut back on deforestation” (,28804,1929071_1929070_1949012,00.html ) Unprecedented breakthrough? I want what _that_ guy’s smoking . . .

    Are these wild third-party exaggerations? How so, exactly?

    There is one theory that seems to me to cover all the facts: Obama personally believes that global warming is real but does not feel enough urgency about it to spend any serious “political capital” on a climate policy that is both consistent and sweeping enough to be proportional to the threat — i.e., a policy that would offend his major donors. His own political well-being has always come first. Oh, but surely he’ll blossom as climate savior in a lame-duck term? No way. There is no such thing as a lame-duck President, because even when the individual isn’t running for re-election, their party is. Stealth heroes do not exist except in election-year fantasies. WYSIWYG.

    Is Romney worse vis-a-vis climate? Yes, yes, of course he is. Which is why I hope Obama wins and would have voted for him if I lived in a swing state. Continuing Obama’s utterly inadequate climate policy is like jumping without a parachute at 10,000 feet; switching to Romney’s mad ignorance would be like jumping without a parachute at 1,000 feet. I prefer the higher jump on principle because it gives us more time before we go splat, and maybe in that time, a miracle will happen, or we’ll figure out how to flap our wings and fly. Or something.

  17. Larry Gilman says:

    Whoops, I meant to post this in reply to “Mr. Anon.” My references to “the source you point to” etc. would have made sense in that context. But Mr. Will can take the hit just as well; he is equally in denial about Obama’s non-existence as a climate savior.

  18. Larry Gilman says:

    Chemtrails are a hoax, not real.

    Many real ice-particle contrails do not “dissipate within minutes” but linger for many hours, becoming significant clouds cumulatively having an effect on global climate: see, for example, .

  19. John Andrews says:

    Obama’s outrageous “all of the above” energy policy will destroy the climate. At the Durban conference, Obama killed implementation of an international climate treaty until 2020. No one who cares about our planet should vote for Obama. Vote for survival instead. Jill Stein is the only sane choice.

  20. Artful Dodger says:

    No John, the only sane choice is to drag President Obama back to the center. Jill Stein is literally not on the ballot in 12 States.

    In the aftermath of Sandy, we have the opportunity to put an end point of the fossil future. The next step is one President Obama has already proposed. Ending subsidies to Big Oil.

    Politics is the art of the possible.