Keystone XL Activists Greet Obama in Santa Monica

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As part of President Obama’s fundraising trip to Southern California, a crowd of over 300 activists greeted him in Santa Monica, calling for action on climate change, foremost by rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Keystone XL, Obama, Santa Monica

“TransCanada’s proposed 1,700-mile Keystone XL Pipeline would transport toxic and corrosive tar sands bitumen from Alberta across the middle of North America to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. It would threaten contamination of rivers and freshwater supplies for six U.S. states, and still not produce the jobs promised.” – Jack Eidt, Tar Sands Action SoCal

Santa Monica, CA – As President Obama attended a recent fundraiser in Santa Monica, a crowd of over 300 activists gathered to remind him of their opposition to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would transport 830,000 thousand barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil and would open up development of the Canadian tar sands, among the largest carbon bombs on the planet. The group called on the President to keep his climate promises and protect future generations by rejecting the Keystone pipeline and making meaningful progress on confronting climate change.

Meanwhile, a few blocks down the street, hundreds more rallied to express their dissatisfaction with Obama’s deportation record, which ended in the arrest of eleven protesters practicing peaceful civil disobedience.

Keystone XL, Santa Monica, Obama

“The Keystone XL Pipeline would triple production of carbon-intensive tar sands oil, representing a tipping point in the fight to save the earth’s climate from permanent destabilization. Last year we measurably melted the glaciers. Drought has shrunk our reservoirs, dried-out our agricultural fields, and burned our backcountry. The cost of worldwide climate disasters is in the multi-billions and counting.” -Jack Eidt. Photo By Mike Chickey

Represented in the KXL crowd was a diverse coalition of local and national organizations working on environmental and progressive issues. Activists from Sierra Club, Sierra Club Angeles Chapter, 350.org, Tar Sands Action Southern California, CREDO, the Center for Biological Diversity, Burbank Green Alliance, and Wilder Utopia attended the rally, as well as Sierra Student Coalition, Green Festival Los Angeles, Bio-Diesel Co-op, Citizens Climate Lobby Pasadena Foothills Chapter, AEP, Miss R*EVOLutionaries, Friends of the Earth, Sachamama, and Interfaith Power and Light.

Keystone XL, Santa Monica, Obama

“Burning tar sands bitumen produces three to five times the greenhouse gas pollution on a wells-to-wheels basis than conventional oil. By 2015, the oil sands industrial project could emit more greenhouse gases than the nation of Denmark.” -Jack Eidt. Photo By Mike Chickey.

Jack Eidt, Organizer with Tar Sands Action SoCal and Founder/Editor of WilderUtopia, emphasized the significance of President Obama’s decision: “President Obama has the rare opportunity to reject the pipeline without having to consult Congress. Should he reject the project based on its adverse climatic effects, he would demonstrate world leadership in recognizing the mutually beneficial relationship between ecology and economy.”

Keystone XL, Obama

“We need to transition today toward an economy focused on efficiency, smart growth and conservation, integrated with a clean, renewable energy plan – one that breaks the addiction to dirty and dangerous fuels like Coal, Natural Gas Fracking, Nuclear, and Tar Sands.” – Jack Eidt. Photo By Adam Meltzer.

Darrell Clarke, Volunteer Co-Lead with Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil Campaign, added, “We’re here to tell President Obama to reject Keystone XL for our children’s future. We can create jobs and make America truly energy independent with clean energy. Dirty tar sands can’t get us there.”

Jim Waterhouse, of Citizens Climate Lobby, said: “We urge citizens to demand meaningful climate legislation to ensure a survivable planet. Along with rejecting the Keystone XL, the best next step is a Carbon Fee with proceeds returned to the people.”

Keystone XL Pipeline

“President Obama, now is the time to reject Keystone!” Photo By Mike Chickey.

Sherry Anne Lear, co-founder of Miss R*EVOLutionaries, a progressive women’s group based in Los Angeles, added, “Miss R*EVOLutionaries considers climate change one of the most critical issues facing our generations and the future generations and we are adamantly opposed to the Keystone XL Pipeline as well as tar sands extraction. The Obama administration has not followed through on its promises to protect our environment and President Obama clearly has enough information by now to know that the Keystone XL Pipeline project must be rejected. Our Earth and our children are depending on this.”

The fight over the Keystone XL pipeline has energized millions and become a test of President Obama’s commitment to dealing with the climate crisis. This event followed a similar rally outside a fundraiser attended by the President in Palo Alto, California, as part of an ongoing effort over the past several months to meet President Obama at nearly all of his public events and demand that he keep his promises on climate and reject the permit for the pipeline.

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Other stories in the media…

Environmentalists Vow to Confront Obama in Santa Monica TomorrowThe Front Page Online, Ari L. Noonan, 6/6/13

Pipeline to the President, EnviroReporter, Michael Collins, 6/9/13

President In SoCal for Fundraising, Summit With China’s PresidentNBC Los Angeles (Video Clip), Jonathan Lloyd and Lisa Fernandez, 6/7/13

President Obama Makes Brief Visit to L.A. for FundraiserFox 11/CNS, Gigi Graciette, 6/7/13

Activists Send Divided Message in BrentwoodLA Progressive, Sharon Kyle, 6/8/13

FOX 11 Morning News at 10 AM (Video Clip)KTTV-LA (FOX) – Los Angeles, CA, 6/7/13

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature’s all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion — Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt