Pages tagged "pipeline"

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 (

What Today's Keystone Pipeline Delay Means For You

If you've been glued to the emerging news on the Keystone XL pipeline like the RAN team has today then you already know that a final decision on this disastrous extreme energy project has been further delayed. Today, the Obama administration extended the review period on the pipeline to ostensibly give agencies more time to provide feedback. You're going to see a lot of quarterbacking on what this potential delay does or does not mean for the eventual fate of this pipeline. Here's what we know for sure.

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline fight is and will continue to be a defining moment for the history of the climate movement, and it's not over. We have to maintain bold, powerful pressure on President Obama and the State Department. Make no mistake, though, the pressure is working. The fact that this pipeline was not rubber-stamped as expected two years ago reflects the huge public outcry we've built collectively against Keystone XL and for sane climate solutions.

We know that people power is on our side and has already changed the historical fate of this project. As organizers, we also know that our dirty oil adversaries are hoping this delay will take the wind out of our sails, that we'll forget about Keystone XL and lose momentum. I have nearly 100,000 reasons to prove that's not going to happen.

Photo by Kayana Szymczak. 

For the last twelve months, Rainforest Action Network, CREDO and the Other 98% have spearheaded an effort to prepare tens of thousands of people across the country to deploy a massive nationwide wave of peaceful, dignified civil disobedience if Secretary Kerry recommends approval of Keystone XL to the president. As of today, more than 95,000 people have signed the Pledge of Resistance.

As Elijah Zarlin, CREDO's senior campaign manager said today: “It is deeply disappointing that Secretary Kerry and President Obama can’t yet muster the courage to stand up to the oil industry and reject Keystone XL. Still, this is yet another defeat for TransCanada, tar sands developers like the Koch Brothers, and oil-soaked politicians. No doubt, the nearly 100,000 people who have pledged to risk arrest to stop Keystone XL played a key role in pushing the administration to more accurately consider the full impact of this project - which must clearly result in rejection. No delays will diminish our commitment to stopping Keystone XL."

I am one of the almost 100,000 people who’ve signed the Pledge of Resistance, and I can guarantee that today’s news changes nothing for me. I'm not going away, RAN's not going away and neither are any of our allies. When I signed that pledge I knew it was for the long haul. Our future depends on it.

Photo by Kayana Szymczak.

XL Dissent: Where Do We Go From Here? Announcing the Pledge of Resistance Spring Training Tour

The Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance is coming to campuses to train students for civil disobedience to stop the pipeline. Click here to join the 86,000 people who have already pledged to risk arrest to stop Keystone XL, and read on for training dates and locations—and to learn more about the movement to resist the pipeline. “We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the tension that is already alive.” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. [caption id="attachment_23262" align="aligncenter" width="480"]XL Dissent, February 28th XL Dissent, February 28th[/caption] Last Sunday, the world got a sense of the pressure that has been building just beneath the surface of our society when over 1,000 youth massed outside the White House and demanded the rejection of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Nearly 400 were arrested at XL Dissent, which will be remembered as a significant early skirmish in the battle for a post-carbon future. If this sounds like a grandiose claim to you, read on—the bold action of the XL Dissenters is just a glimpse of the resistance to Keystone XL that is building across the country. [caption id="attachment_23263" align="alignright" width="162"]Tar Sands Blockade, September 2012 Tar Sands Blockade, September 2012[/caption] To the casual observer, resistance to Keystone XL might look like a series of high-profile acts of civil resistance, of which XL Dissent is the latest example. While these flashpoints have been characterized by a particular intensity (1,252 were arrested at Tar Sands Action over 15 days; Tar Sands Blockade continues a sustained direct action campaign), the punctuated rhythm of these events belies the dramatic growth of opposition to Keystone XL. Rather than functioning as a pressure relief valve, these actions have supercharged resistance to Keystone XL, and XL Dissent tapped into that reservoir. How deep does this well of resistance go? We’re starting to find out. Last Spring, Rainforest Action Network joined with CREDO Action and The Other 98% to launched the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, a national pledge to resist the pipeline through massive waves of coordinated civil disobedience. As of today, 86,503 people have pledged to risk arrest to stop Keystone XL. If the State Department finds that the pipeline passes the climate test and is in the U.S.’s national interest, Obama will find himself the target of the largest wave of coordinated resistance in recent memory. Tens of thousands will be arrested all over the country at over one hundred actions, each one planned and coordinated by local action teams. You can check out the hundred actions that are already planned here. [caption id="attachment_23267" align="alignleft" width="307"]Boston Pledge of Resistance action, October, 2013 Boston Pledge of Resistance action, October, 2013[/caption] By this summer, the Obama administration will likely have made a decision on Keystone XL, a decision young people will live with for the rest of their lives. The stakes are enormous, but so is the movement to resist Keystone XL. Now, on the heels of XL Dissent, the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance is launching a training tour to prepare hundreds of students and community members to coordinate, plan, and launch civil disobedience actions. Check out the below events to see if we’re training near you, and RSVP to attend. Click here to sign the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance and to stand in solidarity with the thousands who are standing strong against the pipeline.

Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance – Spring Training Tour 2014

April 5-6

POR2Boston, MA Philadelphia, PA Chicago, IL Austin, TX  

April 12-13

Los Angeles, CA New York, NY Ann Arbor, MI Washington, D.C.    

Hundreds Protest Keystone XL In Philly, 29 Arrested - Story In Photos

While the formal public comment period on the Keystone XL pipeline came to a close last Friday (with more than two million comments against the pipeline!), KXL opponents in Philadelphia today turned from words to actions. They said no to the pipeline by putting their bodies on the line. More than one hundred protesters marched to the William J. Green Federal Building where waves of protesters proceeded to block entrances to the federal building for four hours. 29 participants were arrested disrupting business as usual and making sure the Obama Administration could not ignore their message: the President would betray both his promise and his commitment to battling climate change if he caves to Big Oil and approves the pipeline. The protesters, many affiliated with Earth Quaker Action Team, brought brooms and banner to announce it is finally time for the government to sweep away its corrupt collusion with Big Oil. It sure was a beautiful site. Show your support for these awesome protestors by pledging to participate in non-violent civil disobedience, if necessary, to stop Keystone XL! Check out how the action unfolded from the best tweets of the day:                       And the second wave begins!          

The People vs. Big Oil - 24 hours to speak out against Keystone XL

It’s been one month since the State Department opened the last official public comment period on the Keystone XL pipeline. There are only 24 hours left till the closing bell! This is your last chance to be officially heard on the pipeline—which has made the public comment period one of the biggest face-offs of the year. On one side you have Team Climate. More than 40 progressive groups have organized 980,000 people to submit comments calling for the President to reject Keystone. We’ve got momentum and could easily pass a million comments by the deadline. We also have truth on our side: Keystone XL would significantly increase tar sands development. And as all-star climate scientist James Hansen has put it, burning all of Canada’s tar sands oil is “game over” for the climate. On the other side, you have Big Oil, and like you might have guessed, they play dirty. They’ve also got one big advantage: oil money. The American Petroleum Institute has been using this cash to fund deceptive robo-calls to citizens along the pipeline route asking them to submit comments. They’ve also been advertising on television. I’m not going to show you Big Oil's ad—instead, check out this amazing “truth-remix” of the ad from our friends at The Other 98 Percent:


Team Climate can still come out ahead in this showdown and convince the President to reject Keystone XL. We just have to obliterate the number of comments submitted by Big Oil and proponents of Keystone XL. Let’s turn on Beast Mode for the climate. take_action_button_130x45    

Boston Tells Obama & Kerry: “Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline”

[caption id="attachment_22136" align="alignleft" width="300"]KXL Bos 36 sit in at Boston federal building protest of Keystone XL.[/caption] This morning, I’m in Boston. This is one of my favorite U.S. cities, perhaps because Boston is one of the birthplaces of American civil disobedience. Not far from here, in 1773, a group of colonists dumped ship-loads of English tea into Boston Harbor in resistance to the British government’s unfair taxes on the American colonies.  A few hours from here, Henry David Thoreau penned his essay “Resistance to Civil Government,” where he argued that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Over the past two centuries, Boston has seen its fair share of people acting out of a sense of their own conscience, from labor to civil rights to wars abroad. Today, 36 more people honored that fine tradition by staging a sit-in on the front door of the Tip O’Neill federal building in downtown Boston in opposition to Keystone XL. They sent a strong message to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry: Reject the pipeline! Secretary Kerry, who is a long-time environmental advocate, plays a key role in whether the Keystone XL pipeline will be approved or rejected, as the State Department is tasked with determining whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the nation's best interest. President Obama is expected to make an announcement about the fate of the pipeline within the next few months. The federal authorities didn’t waste any time trying to intimidate us with federal charges and a $5,000 fine.To their credit, NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON BACKED OFF FROM TAKING ACTION. That’s how important this issue is for people who have signed the KXL Pledge of Resistance. That’s how important this issue is for future generations. We’re in a struggle to stem the worst effects of climate change and save communities in Alberta, impacted by tar sands extraction, and communities up and down the pipeline route in Canada and the U.S. boston keysone action_550px Their intimidation tactics failed, so the federal authorities turned to the “then they ignore you” strategy, trying to wait out our sit-in. We don’t have time to wait, these actions are too vital. Our movement is bold and effective.  That’s why they intimidate, ignore us and fight us. Despite that, we’ll keep building this movement while acting on our consciences and continuing these time-honored Boston traditions of civil disobedience whether it’s in Alberta, Texas, Oklahoma or anywhere KXL decision-makers show up.

The No Keystone XL Movement Needs You!

[caption id="attachment_22111" align="alignleft" width="300"]HTX KXL Houston KXL Pledge March to TransCanada's HQ[/caption] Two weeks, a group of courageous people were arrested in the belly of the beast: TransCanada’s U.S. headquarters in Houston, Texas. These were mothers, fathers, grandfathers, great grandmothers, scientists, and teachers who staged a peaceful sit-in with a clear message: No Keystone XL tar sands pipeline! People from the extraction sites in Alberta to the piney woods of East Texas to the front steps of the White House have battled to stop Keystone XL and scores of other oil infrastructure projects.  Many of them have faced escalated criminal charges, civil litigation from TransCanada and police violence. At RAN we have a policy never to ask you to take an action, online or offline, that we don't believe will make a strategic difference and have an impact that is worth your time. On Monday, we’ll be organizing another Keystone XL Pledge action in John Kerry’s hometown of Boston with our allies CREDO Action and The Other 98%. For months, President Obama and his State Department have weighed their decision on whether this disastrous dirty energy pipeline is in our national interest. Our job must be to show enough opposition to the pipeline to ensure the president stands on the right side of this historical moment. More than 75,000 people, including many of you, have signed RAN, Other 98% and CREDO’s Pledge of Resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline—pledging to participate in peaceful civil disobedience, to risk arrest if necessary, to stop this dangerous tar sands pipeline. To be clear, this is a serious request of your time, your passion and, potentially, your liberty. We’re asking now because it’s critical. [caption id="attachment_22112" align="alignright" width="300"]HTX KXL arrests Houston Police arrests KXL Pledgers[/caption] These actions are coming together because of months of work by literally hundreds of people. A group of seasoned direct action organizers built a training curriculum and traveled to 25 cities around the country to teach people like you how to plan and lead a safe, strategic sit-in. Hundreds of activists stepped up to attend these rigorous two-day weekend trainings, and then went home to put that training into action. Now we’re asking: Will you join us? The dates for these local actions have not been set, but the dates of action trainings have. We're asking everyone to get in touch with local action leaders so we can prepare for action now and are ready to respond if and when President Obama signals his intention to approve the pipeline. That is our most strategic window to have the biggest impact. We need you to join us.

RAN Board Chair Arrested in front of White House

TSA FB graphic 2As you read this, I am being arrested in Washington D.C. in front of the White House. I am here with more than 40 others—including environmental luminaries, a Texas landowner, and a poet laureate—calling for President Obama to put an end to the Keystone XL pipeline and make climate a priority this year. This is the first time in 25 years that I've committed an act of civil disobedience. Because this moment, with the threat of inaction in the face of climate change, demands something more. Will you stand with me? Will you take five minutes right now to ask President Obama to make climate change a priority this year, starting by putting an end to the Keystone pipeline? And then ask five of your friends to do the same? I need your helpto show the president that the 40+ of us out here today are backed by a national movement that is more determined than ever to see action on climate change. As NASA scientist James Hansen, who is out here with me today, has said: "The Keystone pipeline spells game over for the climate." If we don't act, this massive 1700-mile pipeline would allow some of the world's dirtiest oil to travel from Canada's tar sands through America's heartland—jeopardizing our water, our air, and our climate. We need to keep up the pressure on all sides—in the streets and online. Please send an email to President Obama right now reminding him that this climate movement is only getting louder. The entrenched, powerful fossil fuel industry has kept our government from taking comprehensive action to address the climate crisis. But we've outmatched them at every turn with the Keystone XL pipeline. It's the actions of people like you and me that have stalled pipeline construction for more than a year. This is a dramatic political shift. It tells me we're on the right track and need to keep it up. To be clear, putting an end to the Keystone XL pipeline is just our first demand. When I say this is the year for climate action, I mean it. This is the year to push to limit carbon pollution from our nation's dirty power plants, move beyond coal and natural gas, and fire up our clean energy economy. As we've seen with the Keystone pipeline, it takes strategic, powerful grassroots opposition from all sides, spanning from First Nations in Alberta to farmers in Nebraska—from loud online actions to the 40+ of us at the White House here today. I believe that massive grassroots activism is what it takes to make change in this country. If you agree, join me today, and let's keep it up!

TransCanada Ordered Texas Police To Use Brutal Tactics Against Peaceful Protesters

[caption id="attachment_20035" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Call TransCanada's CEO and tell him we stand with the brutalized Tar Sands Blockade activists. Click image to jump to a sample call script."][/caption] Yesterday, we learned that Texas police applied sustained chokeholds, violent arm-twisting, pepper spray, and multiple uses of tasers to move two peaceful protesters—all at the behest of TransCanada employees. On Monday, eight brave people climbed trees on private land in Texas to block construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline and protect their homes. On Tuesday, two peaceful protesters with the Tar Sands Blockade, Shannon Beebe and Benjamin Franklin, locked themselves to Transcanada’s machinery in support of the tree-sit, delaying work on the pipeline for most of the day. Here's how our allies on the ground in Texas described what happened to Shannon and Benjamin (warning: it’s pretty horrifying):
The most physically aggressive was the ranking officer, a Lieutenant with the Wood County Sheriff Department under the observation of TransCanada employees. He twisted and contorted the tube that [Shannon] Bebe and Franklin had locked their arms into, cutting off circulation to their hands and cutting abrasions into their hands and forearms. Franklin and Bebe then describe pepper spray as the most painful part of their ordeal. Police sprayed into their lockdown tube, and the chemicals burned their already-open wounds. Fortunately they were able to make it through their mutual torture by intimating personal reassurances to each other. Franklin and Bebe say they were able to endure the pain knowing that they were in it together. Despite the immense pain our brave blockaders remained locked to the machinery for several hours—determined to stop this toxic tar sands pipeline. After the pepper spray didn't work the police again conferred with TransCanada employees before sending someone back to the police car to bring a taser. Franklin and Bebe were each tased for one second. Then Franklin was tased for 5 entire seconds. He described the pain as immense and almost physically unbearable. Afterwards, John, the senior TransCanada supervisor, openly congratulated the aggressive Sheriffs Department Lieutenant on a "job well done." To which the Lieutenant replied: "if this happens again we'll just skip to using pepper spray and tasing in the first 10 minutes."
Will you help us send a message to show that Shannon and Benjamin are not alone? Call TransCanada CEO Ross Girling to let him know that we won't stand for Big Oil instigating police brutality against peaceful protesters. Here’s his number: 1.800.661.3805 (click here to jump to a sample call script). At the beginning of September, tar sands oil giant TransCanada started construction on the 485-mile southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will send billions of gallons of crude oil from Cushing, OK to Port Arthur, TX. After using every political and legal avenue to attempt to stop this dirty oil pipeline from devastating their homes, Texas landowners, environmentalists and average folks took to the trees to block Transcanada’s pipeline construction. Forming the “Tar Sands Blockade,” these brave people are using non-violent civil disobedience to stop this pipeline from destroying their land and watershed as well as our climate. Shannon and Benjamin’s treatment has shaken all of them, and they need our support now more than ever. Thankfully, Shannon and Benjamin are ok, but their treatment was beyond abhorrent. Every one of us has taken a stand against the Keystone XL pipeline. We need to stand with Texans today who are still fighting this pipeline as it threatens to snake across their lands and dislocate their homes. For brutality of this scale, a simple email to the CEO just wont cut it. Please take a few minutes today to call TransCanada CEO Ross Girling and let him know that his company’s urging of police brutality against peaceful protesters will not be tolerated... and neither will his tar sands pipeline. Here’s how:
1. Call 1.800.661.3805 (free call from anywhere in North America). 2. If someone answers the phone, ask to speak to Ross Girling (it’s highly unlikely they will put you through). Whether your call is answered by voicemail or a real person, be polite and respectful, but above all make sure you state how seriously you’re taking TransCanada’s encouragement of police brutality against peaceful protesters. Here’s a sample call script:
Hello, my name is ____{name}____ and I'm calling today to tell Ross Girling that I think it’s absolutely reprehensible that TransCanada is urging police brutality against peaceful protesters. On September 25th, police used brutal tactics like chokeholds, pepper-spray and tasers on two peaceful protesters occupying TransCanada contstruction equipment in Texas--at the behest of TransCanada employees on the scene. I am outraged at these acts and TransCanada's participation in them. I demand that your employees cease participating in these activities immediately. Thank you for your time.
3. After you call, click the button below to report how it went. It’s important we get an accurate count of how many folks made a call, and what TransCanada’s response is.
In the past two months, the Tar Sands Blockade has brought new energy to the campaign to stop the Keystone pipeline. TransCanada knows we’re a threat to its plans to wreck the planet for profit—and that’s exactly why we must keep the pressure up. We WILL stop the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all, thanks to you and everything you do.

The Spectra Showdown in NYC

Spectra ProtestThe "Spectra Showdown" is a chain of demonstrations against the Spectra Pipeline in New York. Day and night, activists have been keeping vigil, awaiting shipments of equipment to arrive at the construction site in Lower Manhattan at the Hudson River. Guest blogger Shannon E. Ayala reports from the scene: Activists are regularly attendant, from break of day to late in the evening, at Houston-based Spectra Energy's construction site in Lower Manhattan, anticipating a shipment of materials for the NJ-NY Expansion Project. Though the shipments are expected by barge as well, some sort of nonviolent "showdown" is anticipated alongside the (wild) West Side Highway. The interstate pipeline, approved in May by the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), is an expansion of pre-existing pipelines from Connecticut and Texas, the latter picking up fracked Marcellus Shale gas in Pennsylvania. NYC's Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030, which favors natural gas in its energy section, mentions that no gas pipeline has been built into NYC's borders in decades. The same administration funded the "Hazen and Sawyer Report," which inspired the Mayor to tell the DRBC (Delaware River Basin Commission) to not rush regulations that allow fracking in NYC's watershed. The project was officially filed with FERC shortly after the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion in California, which killed eight people and destroyed a section of suburbia. The NJ-NY Project is a similar pipeline in size and pressure with the difference being that the latter has remote control valves and is built in a more OSHA-conscious time period. Nevertheless, the line was immediately unpopular in Jersey City where it would run throughout the most densely populated county in the US. Jersey City's Mayor, major developer Le Frac, and a host of other locals, including those behind, opposed the line, some just saying it should be rerouted under the Hudson. As a response to the opposition, Spectra launched, which claims 5200 direct and indirect jobs will be created. Sane Energy Project, formed to resist Spectra in NYC, co-organized ReNew New York, which has held large teach-ins on the economic possibilities of renewable energy as an economic alternative. Particularly since early 2011 and more so since Occupy, New Yorkers have dominated the discussion, in opposition, more recently citing the debated consequences of radon being piped from the radioactive Marcellus Shale and Spectra's track record of violations. The pipeline meets Con Edison in the now-posh Meatpacking District, home of the symbolic Hi Line Park and soon-to-be Chelsea Museum, where a vault for the pipeline will be stored. Now that the public hearings and comments, overwhelmingly in opposition, have hit the wall of FERC, direct action groups have blown up the issue in Meatpacking, and have prepared to face Spectra in its tracks. Want to learn more? For direct action and on-site presence: For updates on legal battle and detailed information about pipeline:

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