Interviews, photos and video from Nov 6 Keystone XL protest at the White House
Opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline continues to build
I just returned from Washington DC where I was covering an action to pressure President Obama to deny the permit required for TransCanada to construct Keystone XL, a massive, 2700 km pipeline that would transport tar sands crude from northern Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.
The event was very well-attended, exceeding the expectations of event organizers, Tar Sands Action. Organizers had hoped to encircle the White House with at least 4000 protesters but estimates placed the crowd at somewhere between 10,000-12,000.
In attendance were folks from as far away as Florida, Ohio, California and, for course, Canada. I traveled down from Ottawa on a bus packed with about 50 enthusiastic students from Paul Smiths College in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. 20 hours on a bus over a 48-hour period (including one overnight) is not usually my idea of a good time, but it was well worth the trip.
Below you will find interviews and video from the rally. Highlights included Naomi Klein’s rousing call to arms and her Canadian perspective on both Keystone XL as well as the equally outrageous, proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline to the west coast of B.C. (see video below). Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians gave me a remarkably upbeat assessment of the prospects of stopping Keystone XL in its tracks. Having the chance to speak with leading climatologist and NASA scientist, James Hansen, was also a rare opportunity. In his speech (see video below), Dr. Hansen advocated putting a price on carbon emissions by taxing fossil fuel companies and distributing 100% of the proceeds to the public through a monthly dividend. He also said that one of the most important things people can do is to support the organization Citizens Climate Lobby.
Perhaps most memorable, however, were the many conversations I had with everyday folks from all over North America, from farmers in Nebraska to college kids who helped get Obama elected in ’08 to seniors who were afraid for the future of their grandchildren. People are rightly pissed about this proposed pipeline and many have said they will do “whatever it takes” to stop it. Whatever it takes.
Increasing our dependence on unconventional, dirty oil is not the kind of legacy we should be leaving for future generations. Yes, we need oil for now – nobody denies it. But according to James Hansen, the planet’s most important climate scientist, who was arrested at the White House back in late August/early September – opening up the tar sands to heavy exploitation would mean “it’s essentially game over” for the climate. Building Keystone XL – which Bill McKibben described as “a 1,700-mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent” – will only only ensure that our oil dependence will continue long into the future, our greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase and long overdue investments in clean energy technologies will be further delayed.
You may also be interested to hear the comments of Bill McKibben who appeared on Democracy Now the day after the White House action. The battle continues…