Jan. 15: Emergency Direct Action To Protest KXL South

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A Moral Call to Action

The 485-mile southern leg of TransCanada’s toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has been completed, is being filled, and is scheduled to start up on January 22. Front line reports have TransCanada patrol planes flying up and down the line in Texas and Oklahoma, with foot patrols searching for leaks. Only days remain to extinguish this 485-mile fuse to one of the biggest carbon bombs on Earth.

On December 10, Texas landowners Julia Trigg Crawford, Michael Bishop and Eleanor Fairchild – who have sections of Keystone XL pipeline lurking under their property – urgently requested a meeting with President Obama to resolve this crisis. Their request was summarily ignored. When the political system fails, it is time for nonviolent citizen power.

Despite the late hour, Julia Trigg Crawford maintains: “It is not too late for President Obama to right this great wrong.” Michael Bishop’s response to those who say it is too late to stop KXL South is: “The pipe is in there illegally. That’s like arguing that if a burglar is already in your house, well, now they have a right to be there. Eleanor Fairchild, a 78-year-old great-grandmother arrested for “trespassing” on her own land and labeled an “eco-terrorist” by TransCanada, asserts: “Texans do not want this pipeline forced through their homes.”

We invite you to an EMERGENCY ACTION in Washington, DC on January 15

to stop the southern leg of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

On January 15, the 85th birthday of Dr. Martin King, Jr., we will join with Interfaith Moral Action on Climate outside the White House to insist that President Obama exercise his executive powers to shut down Keystone XL’s southern leg.

Knowing that KXL South will exacerbate the global climate crisis by allowing more than half a million barrels of climate-destroying tar sands to flow daily from Alberta mines to Texas refineries, it would be immoral for the Obama administration to allow this pipeline to become operative.

Canada’s tar sands contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history, with new tar sands mining techniques allowing up to 70% of that tar sands to be removed and burned. Climate scientists warn that fully exploiting this filthy fuel source – which Keystone XL’s southern leg would help facilitate – could trigger an uncontrollable over-heating of our planet, threatening civilization as we know it.

President Obama stated during a July 24, 2013 interview with The New York Times, “I’m going to evaluate this [Keystone pipeline] based on whether or not this is going to significantly contribute to carbon in our atmosphere.” As documented in the 2013 Sierra Club and Oil Change International report, FAIL: How the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks the Climate Test, the Keystone pipeline is a linchpin to more tar sands development, and increased tar sands development will significantly contribute to carbon in our atmosphere. This finding demands that KXL South be shut down while a thorough analysis of the climate impacts of the pipeline’s southern leg is conducted.

Knowing that there have already been 125 excavations of KXL South pipe along 250 miles in Texas due to dents, sags and faulty welds, and the severe public safety threat this poses of toxic leaks and spills, it would be the height of irresponsibility for the Obama administration to allow this project to become operative.

TransCanada’s Keystone I pipeline, built in 2010, leaked 12 times in its first 12 months of operation. It is not a question of if, but when, KXL South will spill and contaminate one or more of the hundreds of rivers and streams it crosses, or the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, which supplies water to more than 10 million Texans.

TransCanada was granted permits to build KXL South without public hearings or studies on threats to major waterways, as required by law. Morality demands that President Obama exercise his executive authority to stop this project. KXL South must be shut down until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts public hearings and water impact studies, and until the Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration re-inspects and digs up every inch of the anomaly-plagued tar sands pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma.

If you are interested in exercising some nonviolent citizen power this Wednesday in front of the White House, join our crew Tuesday night, January 14, for a creative action preparation at the Washington, DC office of Greenpeace. Open to those who are flexible, determined and want to help shut down KXL South.

What: Action Preparation at Greenpeace’s Washington, DC office

Where: 702 H Street, NW, Suite 300 (Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro stop).

When: Wednesday, January 14, from 6:30pm-9:30pm

We recognize the extremely short turnaround on this request, but this is an emergency situation. If you cannot attend yourself, please share this invitation with others who can.

Stopping this one pipeline alone will not save our climate, but it will keep things from getting worse. The moral imperative to stop the Keystone XL pipeline – in its entirety – could not be more clear. We hope you will join us as we take a stand for our children, the next seven generations, and all life on Earth.

  • richardarcher

    While the protest in Washington may make a lot of people feel good, it is probably time for the people concerned about this project to accept the political inevitability of it unless by some magic a majority of the House and Senate decides to pass laws that regulate Keystone XL out of existence. Knowing the level of corporate lobbying associated with KXL, the odds of political magic occurring are basically zero. With the exception of some route changes around the sensitive Ogallala aquifer for the northern leg of KXL, the Obama administration has basically sold out the environmental and safety interests of the people in the USA. Even those changes were forced by Republican governors concerned about the environmental consequences for their states.


    (1) Obama was the one who personally approved the southern leg of KXL during his first term. In 2012 he or his campaign advisors were reported as having asked KXL to change the construction schedule so that there would be less chance of KXL being raised as a campaign issue against him. Short of the pipeline developing massive numbers of gushing leaks along its entire length, there is no reason for Obama to reverse his previous, long standing approval of KXL South.

    (2) The Obama administration under Hillary Clinton’s direction as Secretary of State and again after her resignation selected a consulting company with direct ties to TransCanada and Keystone to do the required environmental impact study. An environmental study had to be done, so nothing works better to justify a likely unpopular opinion as fixing the process so that you get the consultant’s opinion that you want to have. The consultant cooperated (surprise, surprise) by delivering an environmental report stating the potential environmental costs being lower than the economic benefits. Of course, completely ignoring the long term effect of land that can’t be used and water that can’t be drunk or applied to crops in the event of a large spill.

    (3) In late 2013 Obama slightly revised the basis for his evaluation of unfavorable environmental impact regarding KXL. Originally, it was about the pipeline’s potential impact on the environment. After the revision, it was a two parter (a) are there enough rail cars to move all the tar sands oil from Canada to the southern KXL leg origination point and if so, (b) which method (rail car or pipeline) has the worse environmental impact?

    It doesn’t take much reading between the lines of the 3 points to see that for Obama and his administration KXL is a done deal that he just needs to find the right justification to pretty up the package for the USA public when he gives the pipeline company and the tar sands extractor their present of his approval. He and his advisors have been playing the people from the start, just as for the NDAA, Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, and the TTP & TTIP trade agreements.

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