Keystone XL: Not a Done Deal Anymore

posted by Matt Ran

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.

Nov 5 Tar Sands Action: Photo by Shadia Fayne Wood
Nov 5 Tar Sands Action: Photo by Shadia Fayne Wood

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.

Youth at Nov 6 Tar Sands Action: Photo by Christine Irvine
Nov 6 Tar Sands Action: Photo by Christine Irvine