Pages tagged "transcanada'"


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.

Sources:

1. “Obama Blocks Keystone To Start Energy Takeover,” Investor’s Business Daily, May 13, 2014 (http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/051314-700702-obama-wants-energy-markets-fossil-fuels-under-government-heel.htm)
2. “Mainstream media don't know Big Green has deeper pockets than Big Oil,” Washington Examiner, May 13, 2014 (http://washingtonexaminer.com/mainstream-media-dont-know-big-green-has-deeper-pockets-than-big-oil/article/2548405)
3. “The Keystone Pipeline is Quickly Becoming Obsolete,” Business Insider, May 7, 2014 (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-keystone-pipeline-is-quickly-becoming-obsolete-2014-5)


Dare to Win - The Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance

We are changing the world. When the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was proposed five years ago, it could have just been one more energy project green-lighted by Washington D.C. But the massive pipeline would increase tar sands oil development beyond what is acceptable for a safe climate, and could poison drinking water for millions of Americans. Our movement pushed back and forced the State Department to reconsider the pipeline’s oil-soaked environmental review. And in the last month alone—since the second and final environmental assessment was released—more than 40 organizations and 2,030,000 individuals like you have spoken out demanding President Obama reject the pipeline. [caption id="attachment_23294" align="alignnone" width="500"]Boxes representing more than 2 million comments calling on the Obama Administration to reject Keystone XL. Boxes representing more than 2 million comments calling on the Obama Administration to reject Keystone XL. Photo credit: Energy Action Coalition[/caption] Building the Keystone XL pipeline would lock us into the fossil-fueled future of our nightmares. But our collective voice is drowning out the oil industry and its political allies that would profit from Keystone XL! If we push even harder—if our resistance makes it politically unfeasible for President Obama to approve the pipeline—we can win this fight and stop Keystone XL. Will you join us in pledging to resist the Keystone XL pipeline, including—if necessary—risking arrest in peaceful civil disobedience to stop this pipeline once and for all? The decision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline is President Obama’s decision and his alone. The President has said he’ll make that decision by this summer. Those who put him into office are depending on him to stand on the right side of history. We have already spoken through official government channels. Now it is time to go even further to make sure President Obama can’t ignore our call. This is our moment to show just how committed we are to protect our water and our planet. Big moments require big actions. We can beat the oil industry on this, but it will take large numbers to make enough of an impact. That is why we at Rainforest Action Network, along with our friends at CREDO and The Other 98%, are proud to stand with more than 86,000 people who have joined the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, people who feel so strongly that they are prepared to put their bodies on the line by risking going to jail. Will you stand with us too? Join the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance. If tens of thousands of people stand up as President Obama mulls his final decision, and commit to participate in civil disobedience if necessary, we can convince the White House that it will be politically unfeasible to go forward. That is, our goal is not to get arrested. Our goal is to stop the Keystone XL pipeline—by showing enough opposition to Keystone XL that President Obama will reject it. But if he shows clear signs that he is preparing to approve it, we will be ready. Here’s the plan: The administration is now working towards a National Interest Determination that will approve or reject the pipeline. If the Obama administration issues a Draft National Interest Determination finding that favors Keystone XL, that will trigger action on our pledge to resist. Over 100 actions are already planned and many more are in the works. We need you to join them and make their actions even bigger. We realize not everyone can risk arrest in non-violent direct action. But whether it is attending a rally, reaching out to the media or making art, the Pledge of Resistance has roles for everyone. Click here to join the Pledge of Resistance right now. If you help show the President how big, powerful and committed our movement really is, we can guide him to the right decision. We can win. 

Climate Activists Mobilize To Say Keystone XL Fails Obama’s Climate Test

NOKXL BostonGame on. Today, the State Dept. released its long awaited final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Keystone XL pipeline. Unfortunately, the EIS fails to fully address how catastrophic Keystone XL is for the climate. This assessment is critical. In June President Obama said that he will not approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline if it “significantly exacerbates the problem of carbon pollution.” No matter what the EIS says, President Obama has the facts he needs to make his decision. Keystone XL will increase tar sands oil production, which generates at least three times more carbon pollution than conventional oil, it will poison communities from Alberta to the refineries of the Gulf Coast and is destroying part of Canada’s Boreal forest. In other words, the pipeline is the fuse to the largest carbon bomb in North America….and what are we going to do about it? On Monday (Feb. 3), we’ll start with hundreds of vigils to make sure President Obama cannot ignore the fact that Keystone XL fails his climate test. We need you to host a vigil or join one in your neighborhood. The decision to build the pipeline is up to the President and the President alone. Within 90 days he will release a National Interest Determination. We can influence that decision if we get out into the streets and make President Obama understand that if he truly wants to look into the eyes of his grandchildren and say he did what he could to make a safer world, he needs to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Already, over 76,000 people have signed the Keystone Pledge of Resistance. Already dozens have already taken action and risked arrest in Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago and Houston with the message to Obama: No Keystone XL! Over 100 actions are planned at strategic targets across the United States with a network of tens of thousands ready to take bold dignified acts of civil disobedience. The clock is now ticking and we need to do everything in our power to make Obama reject the pipeline. That can start this Monday with vigils across the country. We'll continue with the Keystone Pledge of Resistance and waves of non-violent civil disobedience leading up the Obama's final decision. But it won’t happen without you.

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.

Stand Up to the Keystone XL Corporate Bosses

Right now I am in Houston where people are peacefully sitting-in at the US headquarters of TransCanada. The company—which is responsible for the Keystone XL pipeline—only cares about its bottom line, not the disastrous impacts the pipeline will have on landowners, water, climate and communities living near tar sands mines and refineries. The pipeline must be stopped, that's why protesters are disrupting business as usual in Houston. Will you amplify the efforts of these brave protestors by tying up TransCanada's phone lines and sending a loud and clear message? nokxl houston action_550px Call Transcanada's inquiry line, (800) 608-7859. right now with a respectful message: I oppose the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. You can use these talking points on the call:
  • I oppose the Keystone XL pipeline because it will spill dirty tar sands oil into our water supply and soil, and cook our climate.
  • I oppose the Keystone XL pipeline because its pollution will harm communities from Alberta to those near refinery sites in Houston.
  • I oppose the Keystone XL pipeline because it will only serve to line the pockets of TransCanada's CEO Russ Girling while landowners from Texas on up to the Canadian border will pay the price for TransCanada’s greed.
After you call, tell us how it went by filling out a short survey. We'll use your story to keep up the pressure on TransCanada and President Obama. The protesters today are among 75,000 people who have signed the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance to risk arrest in peaceful, dignified acts of civil disobedience demanding President Obama stop the pipeline. Rainforest Action Network, along with our partners at CREDO and The Other 98%, will continue to mobilize pledge signers in every corner of the country until the pipeline is rejected.

Pledging to Resist the Keystone XL Madness

tar-sands-blockadeIn the smart new F/X drama “The Americans” about Elizabeth and Phillip, a pair of lovable Soviet sleeper agents living in the DC suburbs during the Reagan-era 1980s, a top Soviet spy tells Elizabeth “the American people have elected a madman as their president. He makes no secret of his desire to destroy us.” The Reagan years represented a dangerous time in global history. Along with the nuclear arms race that eventually bankrupted the already faltering Soviet Union and took the world to the edge of nuclear war, the Reagan Administration provided aid and comfort to numerous brutal dictators and right-wing governments from sub-Saharan Africa to the Middle East to Central America. Ronald Reagan’s secret wars in places like Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador killed hundreds of thousands in a bloody campaign to end or contain communist influence. Reagan’s legacy tells us that his political skills as the “great communicator” created a popular united front behind his conservative policies in the United States, but history reflects something very different. During the 1980s, a militant mass non-violent movement, known as the Central American Solidarity Movement, emerged to challenge Reagan’s covert wars in Central America. A critical strategy that the movement developed was the “Pledge of Resistance.” The Pledge of Resistance became an organizing tool that brought together a coalition of peace, religious, feminist and anti-nuclear activists and organizations to actively resist Reagan’s Central American policies. As the Reagan Administration and its political allies began to escalate its not-so-secret wars in Central America, the Pledge of Resistance began escalations of their own. From 1984 into the early 1990s, the Central American Pledge of Resistance organized thousands into civil disobedience actions, both large and small, in protest of possible invasion of Nicaragua, the funding of the contras and support of death squad governments in El Salvador and other parts of Central America. Now, we are faced with even more dangerous times. During the 80’s, these madmen waged secret wars and funded death squads to eradicate other political ideologies, but today we are faced with an insane system based on fossil fuel exploitation shifting the composition of the planet itself for short term profit for a small elite minority. The results of oil, gas and coal extraction and combustion are heading the world further and further down the path of catastrophic climate change. Oil companies in Canada are extracting tar sands oil from an area the size of Florida. Coal companies use mountaintop removal coal mining to destroy over 500 Appalachian Mountains, bury thousands of miles of streams and rivers with mining debris and poison countless communities with air and water pollution. The latest battle has been around the Keystone XL Pipeline which would run oil from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf Coast. It would flow billions of gallons of oil in what climatologist James Hanson has called "the fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet." Canadian oil giant, TransCanada has lobbied the U.S. government, spending millions on lobbyists and election year donations to grease palms for it's dirty project. A few weeks ago, the State Department released a long awaited Environmental Impact Statement which said that the Keystone XL Pipeline would have little or no impact on the environment and climate. It turns out that the report was written by a TransCanada subcontractor. For the past two years, environmental and climate activists have waged hard fought campaigns against the pipeline. In August, 2011 over 1200 were arrested sitting in at the White House demanding Obama reject it. Since July 2012, the Tar Sands Blockade has led actions against the southern leg of the pipeline (approved early last year by Obama) that runs from Cushing, OK to Houston, TX. The rebellious energy of the blockade has led to dozens of arrests, an 85 day tree-sit and a harsh backlash by TransCanada, Texas law enforcement and courts. Last month, tens of thousands marched in Washington D.C. in the largest climate rally in history. Now a coalition of groups have called for another Pledge of Resistance, this time to the Keystone XL Pipeline. CREDO, Rainforest Action Network, 350.org, Hip Hop Caucus, Oil Change and others have put out the Pledge and have had over 50,000 sign up to resist the pipeline. Big plans and big movements are in the works. When Reagan’s presidency ended in January 1989, he had failed to overthrow the Nicaraguan government either by U.S. invasion or through contra military action. The Pledge of Resistance held the line against Reagan’s interventions. While he attempted to bring to full bear the force of the U.S. government and military against the people of Central America (and many died as a result), the Pledge contributed to the thwarting of his ultimate goals. But now we're faced with nothing less than melting permafrost, rising sea levels and extreme weather. It’s now time to escalate outside the Beltway and even beyond the pipeline route. Will you take the Pledge?

“I Ain’t Collateral Damage. I Am Somebody”

[caption id="attachment_20158" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Larry at the Tar Sands Action with Teri Blanton from Kentucky and Texas landowner David Daniel"][/caption] This past weekend I went to West Virginia to say goodbye to my friend Larry Gibson. He passed away on September 9th on his home on Kayford Mountain, West Virginia. Hundreds turned out to Charleston’s civic arena to pay homage to this simple man who decided, 25 years ago, to take a stand against one of the biggest, most insidious industries in the history of the United States—Big Coal. My first visit to West Virginia in 2006 ended up on Larry’s home on Kayford, where he walked me around the property. The most devastating views were at Hell’s Gate. Hell’s Gate was the property line from where you could literally look down on massive mountaintop removal operations. It was stunning. I’ve seen clear cut forests, oil spills and an industry polluted lake near Butte, Montana, but nothing prepares you for mountaintop removal. It changed me. At that point, I wanted to do everything I could to stop it. Back in May, he and I both attended the Bank of America shareholder’s meeting in Charlotte, NC. He joined other shareholder activists inside to speak some truth to CEO Brian Moynihan’s power. That day Larry was especially fired up and fed up. His house on Kayford had just been burglarized by the opposition. He wasn’t in any mood to back down from any bankers’ double-talk on their support of the hate and violence in Appalachia. He didn’t. During that week, he told us: “They tell us we’re collateral damage. Well, I ain’t collateral damage. I am somebody. My name is Larry Gibson.” Larry was a fighter. He wasn’t always an activist and didn’t want to be. But when faced with mountaintop removal coal mining, he embraced these movements and fought with them shoulder to shoulder every day until he passed away. Larry realized that much of Kayford was lost to strip-mining by companies like Massey Energy and Arch Coal. He continued to work to prevent other environmental crimes in other communities in Appalachia and beyond. Larry continuously called for building bigger, more inclusive cross-issue movements. He’d talked about how everything needed to “get bigger.” He participated in last year’s Tar Sands Action in front of the White House. Last year, he joined US Uncut in a Bank of America branch in San Francisco. In his final days, he was outraged by Patriot Coal’s robbing of union retirees of their pensions and medical benefits and urged others to take action. When Goldman Prize winner and longtime mountain justice activist Judy Bond passed away last year, her parting words to us were “Fight harder.” Larry’s could have been “Fight together.” The week after I’d heard Larry died, I went to Texas to train and organize with the Tar Sands Blockade. TransCanada is cutting a monstrous gash in the East Texas countryside from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas to lay the Keystone XL pipeline. The company plans to flow billions of gallons of toxic bitumen (heavy tar sands crude) through communities and vital watersheds to line its executives’ pockets with more profits. In opposition, a diverse, unusual coalition of environmentalists and Texas landowners have banded together to resist the oil giant. It’s a bit in the spirit of what Larry talked about: diverse, unusual groups banding together in the face of corporate power and environmental destruction. Since July, the Tar Sands Blockade has launched action after action on TransCanada’s clear-cutting operations up and down the pipeline route. A tree-sit has lasted over four weeks. TransCanada has responded by allowing its employees to operate their heavy machines with reckless disregard for the safety of protestors and tree-sitters. Police have responded with brutal means such as pepper-spray and Tasers against peaceful protestors. Prosecutors have responded with elevated charges. TransCanada has now also filed lawsuits, aka Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP), against activists and organizations to impede the progress of the campaign and begun to hire off-duty local police as private security at $30 an hour to protect its operations. When Obama and Romney’s debate around energy issues neglects to mention climate change and turns into a back and forth about who loves drilling and mining more, it’s obvious that the political system has failed the environment and the climate. Beyond politics as usual, we are now seeing popular uprisings to protect people’s homes and the natural world around them. The blockade is composed of youth and elders from across Texas and the country. Word is that more new activists arrive every day to join the blockade. Some have heard the call of mainstream environmentalists like Bill McKibben urging us all to take action. Some are from environmental networks like Earth First!, Rising Tide and Mountain Justice that have fought with frontline communities for many years on these issues. Some are from Occupy manifestations that popped up all over the world last year. Writer Chris Hedges recently remarked that the latest incarnation of Occupy “may not take place in city parks and plazas, where the security and surveillance state is blocking protesters from setting up urban encampments. Instead it could arise in the nation’s heartland, where some ranchers, farmers and enraged citizens, often after seeing their land seized by eminent domain and their water supplies placed under mortal threat, have united with Occupiers and activists to oppose the building of the Keystone XL tar sand pipeline.” It’s not just in Texas that action against extractive industry is happening. Over the summer, we saw climate activists embrace climate action with a new fervor in different parts of the country to challenge the fossil fuel industry. From mountaintop removal in Appalachia to fracking in the northeast to coal exports in Montana to this god awful pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma, a patchwork of anti-extraction fighters is growing and growing. Other events are happening in West Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. This weekend, Appalachian mountain fighters are bringing together more like-minded people in Rock Creek, WV in opposition to the continual destruction of Appalachia by the coal industry. Nearby in central North Carolina, environmentalists with Croatan Earth First! are convening the Piedmont Direct Action camp as momentum and energy builds in the state against natural gas extraction, aka “fracking.” A few weeks later, anti-fracking activists in Pennsylvania are holding the Shalefield Justice Action Camp. In New York City, a group called “Occupy the Pipeline” has launched a campaign against the Spectra natural gas pipeline. This is everywhere and it’s only getting bigger. Larry’s powerful voice guides us and I have no doubt that he watches over us from wherever he’s sitting with a smile and nod.

Over 50 Enter Tar Sands Tree Blockade in Defiance of Police

The fight against the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t going anywhere. This morning, in defiance of police and TransCanada's lawsuits, over 50 people marched onto the easement to resupply the tree blockade with fresh food and water. Follow tarsandsblockade.org for updates. Here’s the press release:
Over 50 Enter Tar Sands Blockade Tree Village in Defiance of Police and Legal Repression to Defend Tree-Sitters Risking arrest, lawsuits protesters rally for massive tree blockade after expansion of TransCanada’s overreaching SLAPP suit WINNSBORO, TEXAS – MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2012 – Following a weekend of nonviolent civil disobedience training in North Texas by Tar Sands Blockade, many dozens of protesters and supporters are rallying today at the site of the largest and longest tree sit in Texas history to stage the largest walk-on site protest and civil disobedience in the history of Keystone XL pipeline construction. Several individuals are defending the tree sitters and the trees by locking themselves to construction equipment being used in proximity to the forest blockade. Solidarity actions are also taking place in Washington DC, Boston, Austin and New York City. Altogether more than 50 blockaders are risking arrest to stop Keystone XL construction and bring attention to TransCanada’s repression of journalists attempting to cover the blockaders’ side of the story. They are joined by dozens of supporters who are rallying on public property with colorful banners and signs alongside the easement’s closest highway crossing. A massive media team is in tow to document the day of action and any possible police repression. As the Winnsboro tree blockade enters its fourth week, the blockaders are resupplying their friends in the trees with fresh food, water, and cameras to further document their protest despite the threat of a newly-expanded Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) by TransCanada and egregious criminal overcharges by local law enforcement. Due to the SLAPP suits’ outrageous claims, the tree sitters have by-and-large felt too threatened to safely reveal their identities, despite their protest being nonviolent. That the defiant walk-on protest is the largest yet attempted in the history of protests surrounding Keystone XL construction sends a clear signal that the blockaders will not be deterred by SLAPP suits and other legal threats to limit their civil liberties. “Three weeks is a long time to be sitting in a tree. The training I got this weekend has me ready to rise up and join the sitters in defending Texas homes from the toxic tar sands,” shared Glenn Hobbit, 28. “They’re saying we might get sued or worse, but stopping this pipeline is too important.” Last week, the multinational corporation opened a civil suit in which it named 19 individual defendants, 3 organizations, and 6 anonymous tree sitters for a total of 28 defendants seeking an injunction, declaratory relief, and damages. All the named defendants are former arrestees of Tar Sands Blockade actions with the exception of media spokesperson Ron Seifert, who has yet been arrested in connection with a protest, and area landowner Eleanor Fairchild, who acted independently with activist and actor Daryl Hannah. Hannah was not named in the suit. Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. “In reality, Tar Sands Blockade is not trespassing on TransCanada’s property. Many of TransCanada’s easement contracts were brokered through fraud and intimidation, and their entire legal foundation is being challenged in the courts for those reasons,” explained Ron Seifert, Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson. “If anything TransCanada is trespassing on the property of landowners who never wanted anything to do with their dangerous tar sands pipeline.”

An Open Letter In Support Of the Tar Sands Blockade

[caption id="attachment_20061" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="via TarSandsBlockade.org"][/caption] Rainforest Action Network is excited to have led this call to support the Tar Sands Blockade. Not only is stopping the expansion of fossil fuels infrastructure of the utmost priority, but the harsh repression of environmental activists from both TransCanada and law enforcement needs to be called out again and again. We stand with the Tar Sands Blockade and people fighting environmental destruction and human rights repressions everywhere.Dear Friends, Dear Friends As we write, our friends with the Tar Sands Blockade are blocking construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline in the woods of Texas. For the past six months they have built a movement of climate activists, rural landowners, Texans, Oklahomans and people from all over the country to fiercely resist it. For two weeks, they have captured the imagination of the world with a daring tree-sit and bold ground actions near Winnsboro, TX that have delayed TransCanada’s operations. TransCanada has responded by allowing its employees to operate their heavy machines with reckless disregard for the safety of protestors and tree-sitters. Police have responded with brutal means such as pepper-spray and Tasers against peaceful protestors. Prosecutors have responded with elevated charges. It is clear what is at stake. NASA’s leading climate scientist Dr. James Hansen has called the Keystone XL pipeline, “a fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet.” If all the carbon stored in the Canadian tar sands is released into Earth’s atmosphere it will mean “game over” for the planet. In 2011, we saw the Tar Sands Action galvanize environmental and social justice communities in an unprecedented show of unity during the sit-ins in front of the White House. Every day, members of Indigenous communities, faith communities, labor communities, anti-mountaintop removal movements, anti-fracking movements and many more stepped forward and put their bodies on the line in solidarity. In the year since, we have witnessed people from the Lakota nation in South Dakota and from Moscow, Idaho putting their bodies in roads and highways blocking large transport trucks carrying oil refining equipment to develop further tar sands extraction. Now, the Tar Sands Blockade has taken the next logical step confronting climate change. If we are determined to prevent the pursuit of extreme energy from destroying our communities, natural systems and climate, then peaceful, yet confrontational, protests like the Tar Sands Blockade are necessary actions for change. Let us be clear: there is not an inch of daylight between us and those blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. We stand with them as we’ve stood with those fighting mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia, those defending old growth forests in Cascadia and those challenging nuclear power across this country. We stand in solidarity with those who stand up for us all. Sincerely,
Alliance for Appalachia Alliance of Community Trainers (ACT) Center for Biological Diversity Climate Ground Zero Communities for a Better Environment Community to Community CREDO Action Council of Canadians Earthworks Energy Action Coalition Friends of the Earth U.S. Forest Ethics Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives Global Exchange Global Justice Ecology Project Grassroots Global Justice Greenpeace Canada Greenpeace U.S.A. Indigenous Environmental Network Missourians for Empowerment and Reform (MORE) Mountain Justice Movement Generation Movement Strategy Center Occupy the Pipeline Oil Change International Peaceful Uprising Platform Radical Action for Mountain Peoples' Survival (RAMPS) Rainforest Action Network Rising Tide North America Ruckus Society Sierra Club smartMeme Strategy & Training Project Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards UK Tar Sands Network 350.org

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.

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