Pipeline Protest: The 99% Strike Back Against Keystone XL

Activists led by are set for another round of protests against the Keystone XL pipeline next Tuesday in Washington, DC.

by Stephen Lacey and Zach Rybarczyk

Before the series of protests in front of the White House last summer and fall, most insiders in Washington assumed the Keystone XL pipeline would be approved. But after a strong show of force by the 99% — led by the environmental community — opposed to piping more Canadian tar sands through the country, the White House delayed the decision.

The date has been set — Tuesday, January 24th – for a third round of demonstrations organized to put pressure on the Obama Administration. The White House is also getting pressure from Congressional Republicans, who slipped a provision into a last-minute tax cut package that forces the President to make a decision on Keystone XL by February 21st. An executive decision could come this week.

The demonstration plays up a recently released report showing that the 234 members of Congress who voted to force a decision on Keystone XL cumulatively took $42 million in fossil fuel money:

We need to be outraged—if this is what business as usual looks like, then business as usual isn’t acceptable and has to stop before the planet cooks. No one would countenance this kind of corruption at a high school gymnastics meet—it’s simply not right to take money from a company and then vote on its interests.

Here’s the plan: Instead of circling the White House, this time we’re going to show up at Congress. And we’re going to do it in…referee’s uniforms.

On January 23, the day they return to business, we’ll be there at 3 in the afternoon, ready to blow the whistle on their corruption. The demonstration will start on Capitol hill, and then we will head to the headquarters of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s #1 lobby. We’re going to call penalties—forget facemasking, this is vote-buying. Forget unsportsmanlike conduct—this is undemocratic conduct.

Environmental groups have called Keystone XL a “line in the sand” for climate — and for their support of Obama. Last November, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, explained that “it will be increasingly difficult for our members to stand behind the president” if Keystone XL is approved.

The protesters are up against powerful forces. The Oil and Gas lobby recently rolled out an aggressive campaign to promote fossil fuels and Keystone XL during during the 2012 election. And at an event announcing the new campaign, American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard promised that a failure to approve the pipeline “will have huge political consequences” for the Obama Administration.

Then again, most people thought Keystone XL was a done deal last summer. But when the 99% actually stood up with a strong voice, the dynamic changed very quickly.

11 Responses to Pipeline Protest: The 99% Strike Back Against Keystone XL

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    Way to get creative with the visuals, Bill and!

    Suggestion- come up with some good referee hand signals: Offsides, Player (company) Ejected, Personal Foul, Holding (cash) etc.

  2. Leif says:

    Get “Big Bird” to present awards to some of the worst offenders.

  3. Jeff H says:

    “Increasingly difficult”, or Impossible

    Let’s be clear: It won’t be “increasingly difficult” for me to support President Obama if he approves Keystone XL. It will be impossible.

    I hope he understands this and makes the right choice.

    I have been flabbergasted that this has not been the stance of those in the climate and environmental movements.

    I DO hope — and at this point expect — that Obama will say ‘no’ to Keystone XL. If he says ‘yes’, however, it will be quite interesting to hear the assessments on the part of those who didn’t and wouldn’t make a clear statement of condition (“you won’t get our votes unless you say ‘no’ to KXL”), and it will also be quite interesting to see if they still support him, and the logic they’ll offer for doing so.

    (Of course, the logic that is “the Repubs would be much worse” seems logical within a very narrow and short-term range of thinking, but it does nothing to address the perpetual problem that far too little progress is being made, and the fact that even our own incumbents take us for granted.)



  4. BBHY says:

    The protest has been moved to Tuesday!

  5. fj says:

    truly terribly exciting stuff

  6. Bob Geiger says:

    Is there a way to correct the story so that people can be clear about when the protest is happening? The story says Tues., Jan. 24, near the top, but farther down it says Monday, Jan. 23 at 3 pm in bold print. The Monday date has been scratched. The Tuesday date is now the date.

  7. prokaryotes says:

    Limitless Wealth from the
    “Tar Sands” of Rare Earths and Precious Metals

    It’s a 1.4 billion ton mother lode big enough to supply the world for 100 years

  8. prokaryotes says:

    I think this rhetoric advert is a prime example, how there is a total disconnect to reality.

  9. I found this interesting youtube clip of Al Gore talking about climate change back in 1983 on the PBS series NOVA:

  10. TKPGH says:

    Last night, I sat in on a telephone town hall held by Cong. Jason Altmire of PA. He still supports the KXL and will be expressing that support this week on the House floor. The Sierra Club reports that since 1992, Altmire has accepted $145,000 in contributions from fossil fuel interests. I can’t believe this guy. His environmental record is abysmal. Why he doesn’t switch parties is deyond me. This guy is no Democrat. What kind of global warming proof does it take to get through to these people!

  11. TKPGH says:

    This is the one protest I most wanted to attend, where it to happen. Of course, I’m new in a job and don’t have the time off available. Rats.

    At any rate, I want to express complete suppport for Mr. McKibben, his team and everyone else who will be there. Go get ’em