Pages tagged "freedomfromoil"

Keystone XL: Where Things Stand

It's been one month since the climate movement won a significant delay on the Keystone XL pipeline. Since then, the oil industry and their political and media backers have gotten increasingly desperate:

  • Oil companies tried to ram a vote on Keystone through the U.S. Senate. Last week, that effort collapsed in disarray and finger-pointing among the fossil fuel industry's biggest political boosters.
  • TransCanada, the Canadian company behind Keystone, even resorted to threats to sue the U.S. government under NAFTA. Early this month, they were forced to disavow that outrageous tactic.
  • Pro-Keystone commentators are truly grasping at straws, including claiming that President Obama is delaying a decision to pave the way for a government takeover of the energy sector,1 and arguing that it's the poor, under-resourced oil industry—and not the environmental movement—that’s the real underdog in the fight over the pipeline.2

These bottom-of-the-barrel tactics signal that fossil fuel corporations will do anything to avoid facing up to the view that one prominent analyst voiced this month: "We have been of the opinion for nearly a year now that Keystone XL is dead."3Another Father Against Keystone XLThis delay means another year that tar sands oil stays in the ground, instead of flowing through the pipeline. This delay is another nail in the coffin of this disastrous project. And you—the incredible grassroots tide of resolve and determination—are the ones who made this happen.

Keystone would have been just another routine dirty energy infrastructure project if not for public pressure—like the unprecedented 2.5 million public comments submitted into the approvals process. People all along the pipeline route, from Alberta to the Gulf Coast—especially Indigenous communities and farming communities—mobilized against the project.

Another key factor has been the threat of massive civil disobedience if President Obama approves the pipeline—one veteran environmental campaigner called it the "sharpest arrow in the quiver" of the Keystone opposition movement. Almost 100,000 people signed Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, committing to take direct action if the administration lights the fuse of the continent’s biggest carbon bomb.

So while we're proud that the movement won a major delay, the struggle is far from over. Here at Rainforest Action Network, we're staying vigilant on Keystone. We're continuing to hone the cutting edge of the climate movement by training committed activists. And we're taking fast, strategic action to block dirty energy deals.

Thank you for all you've done.


1. “Obama Blocks Keystone To Start Energy Takeover,” Investor’s Business Daily, May 13, 2014 (
2. “Mainstream media don't know Big Green has deeper pockets than Big Oil,” Washington Examiner, May 13, 2014 (
3. “The Keystone Pipeline is Quickly Becoming Obsolete,” Business Insider, May 7, 2014 (

New Keystone XL Review Acknowledges Significant Climate Impact

tarsands Today we moved a step closer to discovering what President Obama’s true climate legacy will be, when the State Department released the final, supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline. You can read the full report here. While the assessment covers a range of concerning issues: including impacts on water pollution, endangered species, all eyes were glued to the sections concerning climate pollution. This is because President Obama committed, last June, to reject the pipeline if it would "significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution." And the verdict in today’s SEIS is clear: Keystone XL fails President Obama's climate test. The SEIS acknowledges that the pipeline could have ‘a substantial impact on oil sands production levels.’ In other words, building the Keystone XL pipeline could help spur increased tar sands production and the carbon pollution that goes with it. In fact, the report concludes that Keystone XL will emit upwards of 27.4 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, creating the equivalent climate pollution of the exhaust of nearly 6 million cars each year. stopIf you factor the lifespan of the pipeline, likely several decades, the President is being asked to consider locking-in roughly a billion tons of extra emissions at a time when nations are trying urgently to reduce emissions to keep within safe climate limits. The SEIS report also establishes that tar sands crude is more toxic, more corrosive, more difficult to clean up, and more carbon intensive than conventional oil – and acknowledges that between 2002 and 2012 there were more than 1700 pipeline spills. Since the initial EIS was made public, more than 2 million people submitted public comments to the State Department, the overwhelming majority calling for an accurate consideration of the pipeline’s climate impacts. vestAdditionally,more than 76,000 people have pledged to participate in peaceful acts of civil disobedience, should the President signal intent to approve the pipeline. Are you ready to join them? Take the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance.

Man Up: Music Video Call-To-Action To Oppose The Keystone XL Pipeline Nov. 6th

Obama: Man Up! No to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline! Becky White and the Secret Mission have just released this catchy and hilarious protest anthem/call to action track and music video — featuring RAN's own Executive Director Rebecca Tarbotton on violin — called “Man Up!” The song calls on people to gather at the White House on November 6 to persuade President Obama to make the right decision and oppose the disastrous Keystone XL Pipeline project, the fate of which is being decided by his Administration right now. [youtube ADP4eDaRhGk 550] The movement to stop this massively destructive pipeline has brought together a wide array of unlikely allies and has exploded into a national political force to be reckoned with in a very short amount of time. Please check this out and share it widely to spread the word on this crucial and time-sensitive issue! The White House. Nov 6. Be There. Tar Sands Action These are the final moments before President Obama makes a decision to approve or reject the construction of the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. On November 6, exactly one year before the election, thousands will come together to completely encircle the White House in an act of solidarity to convince President Obama to make the right decision to reject the Keystone XL. More than 4000 have already signed up to participate. This is fantastic, but we need thousands more! Please don’t stay at home this Sunday wondering whether your presence would have made a difference. Come stand with us for clean energy, for human rights, for all of our futures. Sign up now! “So many lives are on the line right now. The system is crashing. It’s crashing economically and it’s crashing ecologically. The stakes are too high right now for us not to make the most of this moment.” — Naomi Klein at Occupy Wall Street

"Everest Of Dirty Money" Launches Pro-Keystone XL Effort - A Partnership To Pollute America

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the Everest of dirty money." -- Bill McKibben, Powershift 2011 Have you heard of the Partnership to Fuel America? It sounds innocent enough, but it's actually a campaign launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to promote the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The U.S. Chamber would like you to imagine it as the voice of all American businesses, but it has more in common with the American Petroleum Institute than with your local chamber of commerce. In fact, according to, some 55% of the Chamber's funding comes from just 16 companies. Who are these donors? We don't know (yes, it's actually a secret). We can make a good guess, though, by looking at where the money goes. The Chamber spent $132 million on lobbying in 2010 — $32 million on the midterm elections alone,  with 94 percent going to candidates that deny climate change. And almost all the politicians the Chamber helped elect made dismantling environmental regulations a top priority. This, in addition to a long history of science denial, makes the Chamber's position on global warming clear. Such staunch opposition to climate action has led corporations like Nike, Apple, Microsoft, and PG&E to distance themselves from the Chamber. However, for some reason the Chamber sees a need to cast itself as a moderate on climate and energy. On its web site, for example, it claims to support a "comprehensive legislative solution" for climate change. That's easy to say now that every legislative solution has been killed, largely thanks to the Chamber's lobbying. And the Chamber fiercely opposes EPA carbon regulations — the only federal option left on the table. [caption id="attachment_15289" align="alignright" width="261" caption="Click to view larger infographic"]us-chamber-infographic[/caption] In comments sent to the EPA, the Chamber insisted that global warming really isn't a problem:
Overall, there is strong evidence that populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations.
I'm sure the folks in Texas suffering from the historic drought will be happy to hear that. If you need further evidence of whom the Chamber works for, consider this: It sided with Chevron in the Amazon pollution lawsuit. While international law experts criticized a U.S. federal judge for barring the enforcement of the $18 billion verdict against Chevron, the Chamber had this to say about the oil giant's appeal:
At bottom, this appeal involves a carefully tailored solution in a case containing extraordinary, unrebutted evidence of a plan to shake down a United States corporation.
More recently, the Chamber has taken a stand in favor of smog, aka ground level ozone, by opposing tighter pollution standards. Having beaten down climate and clean energy bills, the Chamber is now working with its friends in Congress to blanket-bomb decades of green achievements, from the Clean Air Act to the EPA itself. The Partnership to Fuel Pollute America is just the latest step in the Chamber's plan. The Keystone XL pipeline could be disastrous for the regions it crosses, and the accompanying tar sands expansion would be disastrous for the climate, according to top scientists. In an open letter, they warned that energy sources like the tar sands will "leave our children and grandchildren a climate system with consequences that are out of their control." I guess they haven't heard that we can just change our physiology. If the quote about "physiological adaptations" sounds familiar, that's because Bill McKibben mentioned it in his Powershift speech:
I don’t even really know what that means, alter your physiology. Grow gills? I don’t know. But I can tell you this. I am too old to change my physiology and you all are too good looking. But I will adapt my behavior. Every day now I will roll out of bed and go to work fighting [the Chamber's agenda].... We’re going to adapt our behavior all right. We’re going to adapt our behavior now to fight on every front. I’m sorry if that sounds aggressive, but there we are.
Do you want to join the fight against the Chamber's agenda? If so, here are some ways to take action:

I Hope King Would Have Been Proud Of The Tar Sands Action

This blog was orginally posted on the Daily Kos on August 19th as part of the Stop Tar Sands Blogathon. On Sunday, Aug 28th, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. will open. The dedication — now long overdue — will serve as a reminder of Dr. King's enduring legacy of justice, love, compassion — and activism.
The dedication falls right in the middle of a two-week period when, in the spirit of King, over 2,000 activists will meet at the White House to voice their opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The 1,700-mile oil pipeline, if built, would carry tar sands oil from my home country of Canada down along the spine of the U.S. all the way to the Gulf Coast. It's an ambitious proposal to build an immensely long pipeline, and if President Obama approves the Keystone XL, the distance between his rhetoric and reality will grow proportionally. Upon his election, the president told us that this was the moment "when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." But full exploitation of the tar sands would put the climate at extreme risk, which is why scientists such as Michael Mann and James Hansen oppose the pipeline. The arguments for the pipeline have included energy independence, pipeline safety, and cheaper fuel prices. One by one each has been knocked down as people come to grips with the reality that increasing oil supply is no way to deal with oil addiction or climate change — our twin challenges when it comes to our energy choices. Consider these facts: • According to government body in charge of pipeline safety, between 2000 and 2009, pipeline accidents were responsible for 2,794 significant incidents and 161 fatalities in the United States. • According to NRDC projections, scaling up our use of renewables and increasing our energy efficiency can go a long way to offsetting the use of tar sands oil, if not meet them completely. • The physics that control our climate are not waiting around for politicians to parse through the arguments for the Keystone XL and figure out how to message yet another step in the wrong direction. We are experiencing climate change now, and no amount of wishing it away or political posturing is going to change that reality. Of course, the company behind the pipeline, TransCanada, and its other supporters have done everything they can to manipulate the process (including creating fake Twitter personas). It hired Secretary of State Clinton's former deputy campaign director as their chief lobbyist, and recently released Wikileaks documents show U.S. envoys working with Canadian energy bosses to insure "favorable media coverage." We can't have business as usual anymore. This is the message that the sit-in will send loud and clear to TransCanada and the president, a former community organizer himself who has a bust of King in the Oval Office. The president knows what a people powered movement can accomplish. King challenged the conscience of the nation, and he was shot down in Memphis as he was putting together the Poor People's Campaign, a new effort to tackle economic justice and housing for the poor in the U.S. Today's climate activists are channeling King's courage by taking their message straight to the doorstep of the president. The eyes of the world are watching.

VIDEO: Senator Bernie Sanders Offers Support for Keystone XL Tar Sands Protest

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a prophetic voice for justice and love, has lent his voice to the upcoming Tar Sands Action. The support from Sen. Sanders and other courageous policymakers will be needed to let President Obama know that he has the support of the American people if he stands up to Big Oil. We don't know yet which way the president will lean, but we do know which side of history Senator Sanders is on.

Take Action

1 Sign & Share the Petition to Obama

Only the President of the United States has the authority to block the Keystone XL pipeline. Tell President Obama to keep the Keystone XL oil pipeline out of our backyards. Everyone in North America needs to be aware of this dangerous pipeline proposal, so please share this petition with your friends and family. Make sure they know that the opportunity to stop Keystone XL is right now.

2 Join the Tar Sands Action in D.C.

From August 20-September 3, concerned people from across the continent—students, celebrities, scientists, Indigenous peoples, church groups, environmentalists, parents, and more—are gathering in Washington for a mass act of civil disobedience at the White House. Over 1500 individuals are already registered to join this wave of sustained sit-ins and send a clear message to the President: The People are saying NO to the 2000-mile climate-destroying Keystone XL pipeline. If you're ready to do whatever it takes to stop climate change, you can register to join the action at

James Cameron Loves Us!

[caption id="attachment_8738" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Clayton Thomas-Muller, James Cameron, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Eriel Deranger [/caption] Check out this great shot of RAN Freedom From Oil Campaigner Eriel Deranger (that's her on the right) with James Cameron and friends from Greenpeace and IEN. Cameron  was in town for a tour of the tar sands.  More details on his trip can be found here on the Understory and at Huffington Post. Spoiler: he wants an end to the toxic tailings that are fouling Canada's rivers and contaminating communities downstream.

Chevron Needs To Get To Work

Change Chevron image: Getting to work cleaning up Chevron stations for 10/10/10 Why did we get to work to clean up Chevron stations today as part of the 10/10/10 Global Work Party? The answer is pretty simple: Chevron refuses to clean up its own messes, so we wanted to set a good example for the company to follow. According to a new scientific analysis released last month, the 18 billion gallons of toxic oil waste polluting Ecuador's rainforest could lead to as many as 10,000 Ecuadoreans dying of cancer by 2080 — and that’s even if Chevron cleans up its mess in Ecuador immediately. That number could rise exponentially if Chevron doesn’t take action. But so far the company has refused to get to work. That’s why we sent teams to temporarily shut down all 10 San Francisco Chevron gas stations for “cleaning” of oil spills. Check out the pics: Our activists were at the Chevron stations to confront the company on its pollution in Ecuador, and on its pollution in communities around the world, from California to Ecuador to Nigeria. While Chevron refuses to take responsibility for this pollution, the company is actively working to stall climate and clean energy policies that would get us off of dirty fossil fuels once and for all. Chevron needs to clean up its own mess, and to stop standing in the way of those of us who are getting to work to make the clean energy future a reality. After shutting down the stations in San Francisco, we headed to Lafayette, CA — home of Chevron CEO John Watson. If ever there were a guy who needs to get to work, John Watson is that guy. Unfortunately, he recently told an interviewer that he thinks it will take “generations” for us to make the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This is clearly not acceptable: There are 30,000 Ecuadoreans living amongst Chevron’s toxic pollution, and the entire world is threatened by global warming. Lives are at stake. So we stopped by Watson’s house at the end of the day and dropped off our cleaning supplies, as a not-terribly-subtle suggestion that the CEO get to work. Check out the video.

There were, of course, more 7,000 work parties in about 180 countries today. Around 1,200 of those work parties were in the U.S., which easily dwarfs the number of astroturf events organized by the American Petroleum Institute this summer, and is nearly double the 642 Tax Day Tea Parties organized this spring with the support of Fox News. Check out the highlights from around the world on

How Do You Spell Greenwash? P-N-C

From Wikipedia:Greenwashing (a portmanteau of "green" and "whitewash") is a term describing the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company's policies or products (such as goods or services) are environmentally friendly. PNC prides itself on being the "greenest bank in the business" and last week further contributed to that delusion by opening a new "green" certified building as their regional HQ in Washington D.C. Containing a "15,000 square-foot Eco-Skygarden covering half of the 12-story building's roof" and "a three-story 'climate wall' of constantly falling water, which controls temperature and humidity in the lobby" the building is PNC's latest big greenwash. Why is this an exercise in greenwashing? Because, PNC is the largest funder of mountaintop removal in the U.S. They gave over $130 million to six of the eight largest mountaintop removal coal companies. [caption id="attachment_8702" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="EQAT Member George Lakey, arrested at PNC in Washington D.C."][/caption] Early last week, Rainforest Action Network, Rev. Billy, the Earth Quaker Action Team and many others did a sit-in at PNC's flagship branch in Washington D.C. during Appalachia Rising. Look for more as we amp up our campaign against them and be sure to tell the CEO James Rohr what you think about his bank's policies.

APP Promises Conservation: Don't Hold Your Breath

[caption id="attachment_8708" align="alignright" width="349" caption="Kampar Peninsula: Photo Via Treehugger"][/caption] Sinar Mas Group’s Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), Indonesia’s largest and most controversial logger, made another promise this week. APP announced that one of the rainforest logging and conversion permits it controls (located in the globally significant peatland forests of the Sumatra's Kampar Peninsula) will be re-licensed as a carbon conservation project. However, given the lack local community or government involvement, the fact that the Industrial Timber Plantation license has yet to be reclassified as restoration or protected forest by government, and given the long timelines and lack of details associated with the deal, it remains to be seen if this is just another empty promise and public relations ploy by APP. APP has a long history of broken commitments with communities, government, certification bodies, civil society and its customers. Here's my official statement:
The Kampar is among the deepest and most valuable peat forest ecosystems in the world. Not only does it provide carbon storage, it is customary land that supports the livelihoods of local communities and it serves as critical habitat for endangered Sumatran tigers and many other species. Although RAN hasn’t seen the details behind this announcement, it’s likely that the area in question should be illegal to clear in the first place. Any further development in this or other parts of the Kampar and neighboring peatlands and natural forests should certainly be subject to the moratorium on new licenses due to be adopted in January as part of the agreement on reducing deforestation and forest degradation between the Governments of Indonesia and Norway. While we support the conservation of the Kampar, this project in no way makes up for the tremendous amount of damage that APP and its affiliates are having on communities rainforests and peatlands across Indonesia. This area represents a small proportion of the remaining natural forests and peatlands in their land bank and without action to protect other threatened areas in the Kampar and elsewhere, the area’s values could be lost and any emissions reductions rendered meaningless due to leakage. APP’s conservation efforts are a drop in the bucket compared to the destruction that their standard business practices are causing across Indonesia. Under no circumstances should APP be praised or compensated for doing something that they should have been doing in the first place. A critical question that needs to be answered in this situation, is whether or not local communities and governments know that this is happening and have a meaningful role in decision-making. If we don’t know that, it’s unclear where benefits will flow from this deal and how durable it will be. RAN maintains that if these types of conservation projects are to be successful, they must have the free, prior and informed consent of local communities and these communities must participate and receive an equitable share of the benefits. What’s really good here is that the Ministry of Forests is stepping up to change the designation of this land use from “clear and convert” to “restore and protect.” If it’s done in the right way, involving communities and avoiding leakage, it could be an important precedent for Indonesia’s government. If Indonesia is going to live up to their agreement with Norway, the government must re-designate licenses somehow and APP holds a lot of concessions with peat and natural forests. We urge the government to involve local communities, settle land claims and, as they appear to be doing with this agreement, and to reallocate all remaining undeveloped peatlands and natural forests to restoration/conservation areas. Finally, this project is a great example of why, before they package carbon as a commodity, private carbon traders should adopt fundamental social and environmental safeguards and require their clients to verify that they’re not involved in the destruction of peatlands and natural forests across all their land holdings.
Thought the jury's still out on how this project will land- given APP's track record of deception, corruption and destruction- don't hold your breath.

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