Pages tagged "transcanada"

Be a Part of the Biggest Climate March in History

ClimatePeoplesMarch_v2.pngOn September 21, New York City will see the biggest climate march in history. 

Be a part of it! 

You know the deadly effects of climate change: more storms like Superstorm Sandy in New York, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. More droughts like the one right now in California, and fires like the ones that have been engulfing the Western U.S. every summer. Farmland drying up and sea levels rising, which means hunger and displacement for many of the world’s poorest people. 

Now more than ever, we need to show decision-makers that climate change is a planetary emergency, and that we can't wait any longer for serious action to stop climate chaos. That's why next month, when President Obama and other world leaders gather for a crucial climate summit at the United Nations, the global climate movement will greet them with the largest climate march in history. 

Are you in? 

Rainforest Action Network will be there for this historic event for the global climate movement. We'll also be there to send an important message: to stabilize the climate, we have to challenge corporate power. We have to challenge PepsiCo to stop sourcing Conflict Palm Oil that’s destroying the rainforests that help to regulate our climate. We have to challenge TransCanada: they won’t build the Keystone XL pipeline on our watch. 

You know that winning the fight against global warming means challenging corporations that put profit before people and the planet. And we need you to bring that message to the streets of New York. 

Join us!

This summit kicks off truly crucial series of meetings, with a real chance for binding international emissions targets by the end of 2015. We can’t afford business as usual -- and we know that’s exactly what our elected officials will deliver unless we show them we mean business. Let’s seize our chance to shape history. 

Come be a part of it.

P.S. On September 21, the action goes well beyond New York City, with mobilizations across the country and around the world. Can’t make it to New York? Be part of an event near you.

Vermont Stands Up Against Keystone XL



This blog post is by Geoff Gardner of West Fairlee, Vermont. Geoff is a member of a No KXL activist group in the state's Upper Valley. 

This is a story about the first action, last June 16th, of our little NoKXL affinity group in the Upper Valley of Vermont. But it’s also a story about a kind of event activists can’t e

xpect to happen every time they hit the streets but find inspiring whenever anything like it does occur. 

Our group is made up of twenty or so people most of whom have signed the pledge—sponsored by Rainforest Action Network, Credo and The Other 98%to risk arrest resisting the Keystone XL pipeline. Most of us have also attended one of the non-violent direct action training sessions held in our part of Vermont early this spring and last fall. 

On the expectation that the State Department and the White House would decide to issue—or not issue—the pipeline permit some time in May, our plan was to assemble as many people as possible in Montpelier, the Vermont capital, if and when the announcement to issue the permit was made. Our idea was that after rallying at the State House we would march the few blocks to TD Bank, where members of our affinity group would block the entrance to the bank, risking arrest. 

TD Bank is one of the ten largest banks in American and is a member of the TD Bank Group conglomerate, owned by Toronto-Dominion Bank, the second largest banking institution in Canada. Taken together, TD Asset Management and Toronto-Dominion Bank own more than $1.8 billion in TransCanada stock, making TD the company's second largest shareholder. TransCanada is the company that is exploiting tar sands in Alberta and seeking to build the Keystone XL pipeline across the U.S., to carry tar sands from the Canadian/U.S. border to the Gulf of Mexico where it would be shipped out to enter the global oil market.

TD Bank is also the most important way the State of Vermont is implicated in the environmental damage and destruction caused by TransCanada’s tar sands extraction in Alberta and in the enormous human and environmental hazards posed by the Keystone XL pipeline here in the U.S. This is because Vermont deposits most

of its cash, some 66% of it, in TD Bank. In 2013 alone, Vermont paid TD Bank more than $787,000 in fees. This is why we wanted to demonstrate at the Vermont State House and then risk arrest at TD Bank if and when the KXL pipeline was approved in May. 

But then in the middle of April, the White House and the State Department announced the permit decision would be delayed, quite possibly till after the November mid-term elections. The reasons they cited for the delay were their need to review the unprecedented 2.5 million public comments submitted on the issue as part of the permitting process and the need to await an appellate court’s decision on a Nebraska case that could result in relocating the route of the pipeline. With this delay in mind, our group’s consensus was that we should delay our plan to risk arrest until a decision to permit the KXL pipeline was issued, whenever that might occur. At a meeting in May, we decided that in preparation for this we would build a context for our act of civil disobedience by educating the public as well as we can about TransCanada’s 

extreme extraction of tar sands in Alberta, the Keystone XL pipeline, TD Bank’s participation in both and the State of Vermont’s use of TD Bank. To do this we agreed to demonstrate in Montpelier as frequently as we can, raising and explaining all these issues.

June 16th was the date we picked for our first demonstration. In preparation, members of the group made signs, learned a song to sing, produced a huge banner a

bout the pipeline on one side and about TD Bank’s involvement in it on the other side, and wrote up an informational leaflet, again about the pipeline on one side and TD Bank on the other. A number of the artists among us also invented and produced a huge protest puppet on wheels, dubbed Mama Keystone. All this done, we were ready to go.

In this state where weather can be one kind of challenge of another in all four seasons of the year, we had the best possible luck. June 16th was a brilliantly sunny, clear and beautifully warm spring day. We assembled a while before noon on the sidewalk in front of the State House, being careful to keep off the capital lawns as the lone security guard on the scene asked us to do. Soon we were ready to hand out our leaflet and raise our banner and our signs. We got Mama Keystone up on her wheels, began to sing our song as we headed off slowly down State Street toward TD Bank at the corner of State

 and Main. Walking slowly and pausing from time to time to sing and display our message to the lunchtime crowd, we were cheered by the large number of passers by who offered words of encouragement and the many passing drivers who honked and waved at us. I think we were all happy to see how many people seemed to be well informed about the KXL pipeline issue already. And I for one did not hear a single person challenge or jeer us on the issue. A number of people freely grouched and grumped at us for the room we were taking up on the sidewalk as they rushed along to do their lunch hour errands—understandable enough in a town and on a street where nearly every day one group or another demonstrates on every issue imaginable.


When we reached Main Street, we lined up at the curb in front of the entrance to TD Bank. From this vantage point, the windows of the bank looked opaque and the building rather forbidding and impenetrable. I found myself wondering if the people inside the bank, and especially the bank officers, were even aware that we were outside demonstrating—and demonstrating specifically against their bank. And then something quite remarkable happened. 

Here's how it seemed to happened from my end. I asked one of our organizers whether he thought it would be a good idea to go into the bank and give the manager one of our fact sheets. He hesitated and then asked if I thought it was a good idea. I said I thought it was a great idea. I took one of the flyers and headed to the door just a few steps away. As I approached it, I found I was right behind Nina, my oldest friend in our group. We seemed to have had the same idea at exactly the same minute. This made me laugh. 

"Oh good!" I said. "I'd like to leave one of these leaflets with you. I’m with the demonstration outside, and I think you’ll be interested in this information." I turned the flyer over and pointed to the TD Bank logo up at the top of the page. His eyes opened wide and he began to read.Then I noticed that Nina apparently was heading inside with a young woman just ahead of her who had a very determined look on her face and in her bearing. Once we three were inside the bank, the young woman took her place in line for the next teller, and Nina told me she had handed one of our leaflets to this young woman, who said she knew all about the pipeline issue, had been to Washington to demonstrate against KXL and was in complete agreement with us. Nina had then turned the fact sheet over and asked, "But do you know this?" The young woman was startled by TD Bank’s involvement in TransCanada. She said she was heading into the bank anyway and now was going to withdraw all her money because of the pipeline. Nina waited in line with her, and I headed down in the direction of the offices and the bankers sitting at desks with their computers and their clients.

In the very last room in a corner, a man in his early forties and dressed very casually was sitting at a computer his back turned toward me. I walked into the room and stood at the far end of the conference table between us. He turned, smiled pleasantly and asked if he could help me. I asked if he was the manager. Rather proudly he said, "Yes, I'm the manager and a vice-president."

I went back out to where Nina was waiting while the young woman was negotiating her business with the teller. Soon the manager/vice-president came out of his room and walked toward us. As he walked behind the counter to where the tellers were, he asked if the could do something for us. I said we were with the young woman. In a pause, I pointed him out to the young woman and said he was the manager and vice-president and maybe it would be a good idea to tell him what she was doing. She nodded happily in agreement.

Nina and I went back outside and rejoined our demo. A while later, I saw the young woman come out of the bank. She didn’t see me, and I didn’t notice if she and Nina had any further conversation.

Walking back to the State House with Nina and her husband Doug once the demo was over, we paused outside a café just short of the bridge across the river on State Street. We stood there talking for a while, and before very long that same young woman came along down the sidewalk and approached us. She stopped and happily told us she had in fact withdrawn all her life's savings—$15,000—from TD Bank. She even showed us the teller's check in her bag. As she was also happy to tell us, she made a point of informing the manager/vice-president about what she had done, explaining her action in relation to the bank's involvement with TransCanada and the pipeline. Apparently he wrote down as much as he could of what she was telling him and said he would bring it to the attention of his higher-ups. She asked where we thought she might best deposit that big check of hers, and Doug suggested whatever credit union was closest for her. She took another one of our flyers and may eventually be in touch with us. This hasn’t happened yet, but she already is on the list.

It was the courage and spontaneous decisiveness of this young woman that impressed us most. But I think we all were also inspired by the obvious fact that our hour on the street had informed and sparked at least one person strongly enough so that she took an action of her own that sharply and immediately brought to the bank's attention our presence, why we were there and the possible consequences for the bank of our presence on their corner.

I think the next time we arrive, TD Bank will be quite a bit more aware of us, and that manager and vice-president may be smiling a little less pleasantly than he was in June.

#NOKXL: Thousands Across The U.S. Say “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop”

[caption id="attachment_22961" align="alignleft" width="290"]boston Boston, MA. Pic by Adam Greenberg.[/caption] We can’t stop. We won’t stop. Our Indigenous friends and allies in the U.S. and Canada have vowed to not let the “Keystone XL Black Snake” cross their sacred land. In Nebraska, 115 landowners refuse to sign agreements with TransCanada and are willing to engage in civil disobedience. Over 76,000 have pledged to put their bodies on the line in non-violent civil disobedience to stop the pipeline. Tonight, the fight against Keystone XL got very loud from coast to coast as thousands turned out in the towns, cities and neighborhoods to tell Barack Obama that we won’t be standing for his approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. 284 events. 49 states plus Washington D.C. and parts of Canada. Over 10,000 turned out. All with on 3 days of mass organizing and outreach. That is powerful stuff.  Obama and the oil industry can only expect more. Here’s some images from tonight’s vigils telling Obama a really clear simple message: NO KXL. [caption id="attachment_22962" align="alignnone" width="500"]Jacksonville, FL Jacksonville, FL[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_22963" align="alignnone" width="500"]New York City New York City[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_22964" align="alignnone" width="500"]Witchita, KS Witchita, KS[/caption]   Check out more vigil photos from across the country in the map below or click here to go straight to the photoset.

Texas Oil Spill Hits Home for Tar Sands Activists

East Texas Oil spillDoes the Tar Sands Blockade (TSB) have a crystal ball we didn’t know about? Yesterday in Tyler County, TX, a pipeline operated by Sunoco Logistics sprung a leak and spilled 20,000 gallons (or 550 barrels) of oil into local East Texas waterways. Deep East Texas is known for its creeks and lakes, freshwater eco-systems and aquifers that provide water to the eastern part of the state, including mega-cities Dallas and Houston. But oil companies treat these forests and waterways as collateral damage. Quality control requires that oil companies use “leak detection systems.” Those systems reported nothing until local residents began to report that oil was in the water. (Ummm... so, how do you not detect a 20,000 gallons oil leak?) Sunoco’s spill is merely a prologue for leaks and spills that might come once the southern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline is completed. The site of the spill is not far from a Tar Sands Blockade (TSB) action in Diboll, TX in January.  It’s only a few hour away from TSB’s tree blockade that prevented construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline for 85 days. The Keystone XL itself will cross major waterways such as the Neches, Red, Angelina and Sabine rivers as well as the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, which provides drinking water for more than ten million Texans. The pipeline route will run near the Big Thicket National Wildlife Preserve in southeast Texas. Big Thicket is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the country and is full of bogs, lagoons, plants, trees and a variety of wildlife including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. In a sense, local Texas landowners and environmentalists that began blockading the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline foretold this story. TSB continues to tell a story trying to stop environmental disasters like this with grassroots organizing and spectacular direct actions as their message delivery devices. The courts and cops, owned by companies like TransCanada, throw everything at them to stop the campaign and now local communities and eco-systems are paying the price. Last month, a Tar Sands Blockader locked himself inside an oil and gas industry conference in Houston and decried the lackluster construction and maintenance of these pipelines. While local pipelines continue to poison communities and eco-systems, TransCanada continues to move forward with its massive Keystone XL Pipeline. This only begs the question "when will the next Texas oil spill happen?"

People Power Defeats Keystone XL Again

Tar Sands ActionYesterday, the Senate voted on a bill that would have overridden President Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. And it's all thanks to you. When Keystone XL reared its ugly head this time around, the climate movement responded with a massive show of strength: 802,000 of us sent messages to our Senators telling them to vote against this disastrous tar sands pipeline. Here's Bill McKibben with more on what this victory means:
Today the Senate defeated legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline. The vote was close, but given that this pipeline was a 'no brainer' a year ago, it's pretty remarkable that people power was able to keep working, even in the back rooms of the oil-soaked Senate. (See the full vote count here) Thanks to your hard work — most recently sending 802,000 messages to the Senate in just 24 hours, not to mention all the calls to your Senators — we have kept the pipeline at bay yet again. It's unlikely the Senate will take another vote on Keystone XL, but then again, one can't underestimate the corrupting influence of the money Big Oil is pumping into Capitol Hill. Still, the news isn’t all good. Last week, TransCanada announced plans to build the half of the pipeline that runs from Oklahoma to Texas; and while it doesn’t let them get new tar sands oil across the Canadian border, it’s a blow for folks along the southern half of the route, who we’ll keep fighting side by side with. And TransCanada also announced plans to reapply for a permit to cross the border — so even the partial win we’ve got at the moment may turn out to be temporary. But for right now, there is pipe rusting in big piles across the heartland of the country, instead of sitting underground pumping dirty oil at 700,000 barrels per day. Our victory may not last forever. But today big oil actually lost something big.

Keystone XL Rejected: Thank You President Obama

[caption id="attachment_17533" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="RAN board member Randy Hayes and actress Darryl Hannah at the White House protesting Keystone XL as part of the Tar Sands Action."][/caption] President Obama has just rejected the Keystone XL pipeline! This puts a halt to current plans for a massive 1700-mile pipeline that would have allowed 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. Six months ago the pipeline project was considered a foregone conclusion. Today — against all odds — the project has been rejected. That is a heroic political shift, which is the result of massive grassroots opposition that spanned from First Nations in Alberta to farmers in Nebraska. By sending letters, making calls, protesting in front of the White House and standing up at “Obama for America” offices, the movement against the Keystone XL pipeline has demonstrated what grassroots activism is all about — and what it really takes to make change in this country. When organizing started against the Keystone pipeline there were two main goals: stop the pipeline, and reignite the climate movement, which had been deflated by disappointments from Copenhagen to Congress. I would say that in just a few months we are well on our way to achieving both goals. As Bill McKibben, one of the lead visionaries behind the tar sands protests, said in November, when the pipeline was first delayed:
It’s important to understand how unlikely this victory is… A done deal has come spectacularly undone… The American people spoke loudly about climate change and the president responded. There have been few even partial victories about global warming in recent years so that makes this an important day.
McKibben’s words are truer today than they were in November. We have seen little from the administration on climate and energy that we can be enthusiastic about, and this is definitely something to be unanimously proud of. It has been incredible to watch the movement against the Keystone pipeline come to life. In September, 1,253 people were arrested in a peaceful sit-in at the White House expressing resounding opposition to the pipeline project in one of the largest acts of civil disobedience the environmental movement has ever seen. Since then, droves of protesters, including high-end campaign donors, have confronted President Obama at one public speaking event after another. In November, the opposition grew when more than 12,000 people joined in peaceful protest back in DC, linking hands in several concentric circles around the White House. At RAN, we believe that when corporations respond to our demands, it’s a best practice to thank them. The same is true here. Against loud and dubious threats from Big Oil, President Obama has stepped up to represent us and our future. Please take the time today to thank President Obama for rejecting the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline. Many are wondering what the political realities are to the pipeline rejection. The State Department is allowing Transcanada, the company behind the pipeline, to pitch an alternative route for the pipeline through Nebraska. This re-application process would likely put the project back to the drawing board. As Frances Beinecke, Executive Director of NRDC, put it in an email blast this afternoon:
[B]ecause Big Oil lost, this is not the end of the fight. This is the beginning of the real battle for America’s energy future…That battle will be fought in Congress, where Representatives who’ve collected $12 million from the oil & gas industry over the past two years are sure to try to raise Keystone from the dead . . . it will be fought in British Columbia, where the oil giants want to ram a tar sands pipeline and supertanker traffic through the heart of the Spirit Bear’s coastal rainforest home . . . it will be fought in the Polar Bear Seas, where the Interior Department has given tentative approval for Shell to begin drilling this summer…
If the last few months have shown us anything, it’s that we’ve stopped the project once and we’ll stop it again. Yes, we will need to continue to ensure that President Obama feels the full weight of our opposition and keeps the Keystone XL pipeline off the map forever. But make no mistake, today is a day to come together to celebrate in the exact same way we came together to fight Keystone over the past couple of months, because celebrating our success is a critical part of fueling our work. That should neither minimize nor obscure the reality that if we want a clean energy future, which stops extreme energy projects like the Keystone XL, we’re going to have to keep fighting together for the long haul. What an incredible sign for the start of this New Year. Let's make sure that this success begets even more success in our work to protect forests, their inhabitants and our climate.

Keystone XL: Not a Done Deal Anymore

It was a done deal. At least, it was until a grassroots movement—driven by strong action—threw a major monkey wrench into the process. This afternoon the cards collapsed for TransCanada, the corporate giant behind the proposed 1700-mile tar sands pipeline. It looks like we stopped the Keystone XL. Today, the U.S. State Department announced that the proposed route for the pipeline is getting scrapped. Citing the outcry from every sector of society, President Obama confirmed that he is sending the project back to the drawing board for further review. This process will continue at least through 2013. Why does a “delay” deserve so much excitement? Pipeline supporters hoped the permit for the pipeline would be approved within the next month, but this new review will last at least into 2013. Manyy analysts and even the developer of the pipeline has stated that a change in the route will kill the project. And with the past reviews being full of rampant corruption, a new honest review will reflect that the pipeline should not be built, ever. Communities and organizations like RAN have been opposing the development of Tar Sands for decades. In the past four months, a grassroots, actions-based strategy called Tar Sands Action emerged to challenge the Keystone XL pipeline, and inspired the kind of energy that the environmental movement hasn’t seen in decades. Bringing together groups like RAN,, Indigenous Environmental Network, and many others — Tar Sands Action showed that grassroots organizing and people-powered action can win campaigns AND build a movement. In late August, 1,253 people were arrested in a peaceful sit-in at the White House — one of the largest acts of civil disobedience the environmental movement has ever seen. Droves of protestors have confronted President Obama on the pipeline at one public speaking event after another for months. And this past Sunday, over 12,000 people rallied in DC to link hands in several concentric circles around the White House. [caption id="attachment_16732" align="alignleft" width="551" caption="Nov 5 Tar Sands Action: Photo by Shadia Fayne Wood"]Nov 5 Tar Sands Action: Photo by Shadia Fayne Wood[/caption] Days after this historic rally, we see that when people act, change is made. We have put out the fuse to this very large carbon bomb... for now. And we will remain diligent in our efforts to ensure that the Keystone XL will never be part of our energy future. While there is still much more to accomplish, there is much to celebrate today. Thanks to all who spread the word, took strong action, and donated to this campaign. We did it together. [caption id="attachment_16734" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Nov 6 Tar Sands Action: Photo by Christine Irvine"]Youth at Nov 6 Tar Sands Action: Photo by Christine Irvine[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16742" align="alignleft" width="311" caption=""Pipeline" by DC 51 Art Collective: Photo by Christine Irvine"][/caption]

Oil Pipeline And Husker Football Don't Mix

University of Nebraska footballYesterday, the University of Nebraska severed ties with TransCanada after a massive outcry from Husker football fans upset that the developer of the Keystone Pipeline was running ads on the video screen at Memorial Stadium. Athletic Director Tom Osborne said that University of Nebraska athletic events are designed to "entertain and unify our fan base" — not be "divisive." Divisive would be one word to describe the Keystone XL pipeline, which aims to transport dirty tar sands oil from Canada down to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Another word to describe the project would be just plain "wrong". We stand with Nebraska and ALL those opposed to TransCanada's sponsorships and their plans to build a pipeline across North America, which is a catastrophic threat to our communities, our climate, and our planet.

VIDEO: Landowners Take It To The Streets To Protest Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

[caption id="attachment_15283" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Stop the Pipeline bus"]The Stop the Pipeline bus[/caption] The massive sit-in at the White House to protest the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline expansion has entered its fifth day, with over 50 more arrests. But the protesters taking part in the civil disobedience at the White House are not the only ones taking their opposition to Keystone XL and the tar sands to the streets. A group of landowners who would be affected by expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline are currently touring the proposed expansion route in a biodiesel bus with “Stop the Pipeline” emblazoned across both sides. Texas landowner David Daniel discovered his land lay along the pipeline expansion route when he found surveyors for TransCanada trespassing on his land. Here’s a video dispatch he filed yesterday: [youtube AFXei1ol-hA 550] One of the first stops on the tour was at The Landrum Ranch in Oklahoma. Here’s video of that stop: [youtube ny1Bu0CNXVw 550] Follow the Stop The Pipeline Tour from August 20-September 3 as it winds along the proposed pipeline route, and help the landowners share their stories and the potential effects of Keystone XL. The Stop The Pipeline Tour will take the landowners to meet with concerned citizens, debate TransCanada face-to-face, visit the Kalamazoo oil spill site, and educate the public before they head east to Washington D.C. for the Tar Sands Action with Bill McKibben, Danny Glover, Mark Ruffalo, Naomi Klein, Clayton Thomas-Muller, students, scientists, climate activists and more.

VIDEO: Tar Sands Action Sends "A Powerful Signal Around The Country And Around The World"

Since last Saturday, well over 100 people from all over the country have been arrested in Washington D.C. after standing up against the tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline at the White House. This is what democracy looks like. This is what a movement looks like. Check out this video, featuring Bill McKibben, Gus Speth and Lt. Dan Choi, from the first day of what will be two weeks of daily protests at the White House: [youtube X4YkvHBqp7U 550] President Obama has the power to deny TransCanada a permit to expand the Keystone XL pipeline. He doesn't need to go through Congress. He doesn't need the approval of even a single one of the reality-challenged, climate change-denying, obstructionist Republicans in the House or the Senate. It's time for Obama to honor the stirring pronouncements he made as a candidate in 2008, pronouncements like "Let's be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil." Tar sands oil is the dirtiest oil in the world, and an expanded Keystone XL pipeline would send 900,000 barrels a day of the stuff to US refineries, clearing the way for further expansion of the unbelievably destructive Alberta tar sands projects. Not only would this keep us hooked on oil longer than necessary, but mining oil from tar sands creates three times more carbon emissions than conventional oil extraction. [caption id="attachment_15276" align="alignright" width="222" caption="Sign up to Stop the Pipeline"]TarSandsAction logo[/caption] This choice should be a no-brainer for Obama, but he needs all the encouragement to do the right thing that we can send his way. If you can get to DC, sign up to stand against Keystone XL at the White House. If you can't be there in person, you can still send Obama a message: Block the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

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