Activists led by 350.org 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.
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.