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A Human Chain to Block the Keystone XL Pipeline


On November 6th, 12,000 people descended on Washington, DC. There, they formed a 3-deep human chain around the White House to protest Keystone XL, an oil pipeline that would stretch from the Albertan tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico. Leading climate Jim Hansen has said that tapping the tar sands oil would mean “game over” for Earth’s climate, and many other experts have voiced similar concerns.

The human chain wasn’t limited to Washington. Demonstrations sprang up all over the globe, in the UK (where protesters surrounded a replica of the White House), Micronesia, Egypt (who paid their Canadian embassy a visit), Pakistan, various African countries, and elsewhere.

Image credit: Tar Sands Action Facebook page

The American demonstrators asked President Obama to remember the support they gave him during his presidential campaign, and also sought to remind him of his words at that time:

Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children…this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.

Prior to the 6th, a tremendous effort was made to raise awareness. For instance, actors like David Strathairn (whose video I posted here) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (whose video is below) spoke out against the pipeline and called for Americans to participate in the human chain.

As well, activist groups Tar Sands Action and the Natural Resources Defense Counsel took out a full page ad in the November 4th edition of the Washington Post:

h/t Climate Progress

Public pressure has already elicited positive results regarding the pipeline. The US State Department’s Office of the Inspector General has launched an investigation into the (extremely likely) possibility of corruption associated with the pipeline’s approval process. A central point of interest in this investigation will no doubt concern the State Department’s outsourcing of a study that would assess the pipeline’s environmental impact to TransCanada–the very company that wants permission to build the pipeline.

As well, Obama recently asserted that he will be the one to make the decision about Keystone XL, not the State Department.

On the Canadian side of the border, things don’t seem so positive. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has personally encouraged Obama to approve the pipeline, considers the decision a “complete no-brainer.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. John Erickson permalink
    11/09/2011 9:15 PM

    We’re starting to get more attention down here in general. Fox News pulled a real idiot move, claiming the pipeline could create anywhere from 50,000 to 500,000 jobs! Several “truth in media” groups have QUICKLY shot that down, with the highest number of jobs created (that I’ve seen) numbered at 13,000. Plus there’s been a lot of talk about the environmental damage, both from actual collection of the crude, as well as the potential damage.
    And following several “pro common sense” votes in elections last night, this may just be another sign of hope for our truly screwed-up political establishment!

    • 11/13/2011 5:38 PM

      Yeah…even 500,000 jobs couldn’t provide adequate justification for trashing the climate. 13,000 is just sad.

      Thank goodness this didn’t get approved.

  2. Andrew permalink
    11/09/2011 9:37 PM

    It’s ironic that Stephen Harper would call something a complete no-brainer.

  3. Raven Warren permalink
    11/09/2011 11:09 PM

    I wish we could have been there on November 6th. The fact that the world has to wait while Obama hesitates is a disgrace.

    I like that video by Julia Louis-Dreyfus; it’s so honest. I also really enjoy your comment, Andrew! Very good point.

    • 11/13/2011 5:37 PM

      I would have liked to have been there, too. But it looks like they got the job done!

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