President Obama: Stop the Destructive Tar Sands-Keystone XL and Act Now to Stabilize the Climate
Dear President Obama: We citizens for Tar Sands Action in Los Angeles laud your decision to send the Keystone XL Pipeline back to the State Department for a thorough re-review. Yet, ensuring climate stability, protecting land and water resources, and launching an alternative clean energy economy will take much more work. We, as a diverse community of voters of all ages and ethnicities, stand with you to make the hard choices to say no to extreme energy proposals and their extreme cost and associated impacts.
On Monday, November 28, the Tar Sands Action Los Angeles community met with the California Obama For America (OFA) staff, including Mary Jane Stevenson, California State Director. Present were Tar Sands Action members from a wide variety of groups including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, local Green Alliance organizations, clergy of different faiths, and students attending Southern California colleges and universities. Collectively we represent a large number of constituents that ARE President Obama’s base.
The Dangers of Extreme Energy Projects
Selected speakers outlined the threats to land and water resources and indigenous communities that expansion of oil sands in situ and strip mining would have on the Florida-sized Alberta Boreal Forest, the second largest pool of carbon in the world. Speakers mentioned that Keystone XL (link) would not bring long-term employment nor energy security and will have significant and unavoidable impacts (link) to the Ogallala Aquifer, the Yellowstone, Missouri and Platte Rivers, and the general stability of our climate (link).
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be “lost for ever”, according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure. – The Guardian UK
Toward a Clean Energy-Sustainable Earth Policy
Many activists in attendance had worked tirelessly on President Obama’s Democratic campaigns both in 2008 and 2010. We stood together and listened with hope in our hearts in 2008 to the words:
“This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.”
Given the President’s expressed sentiments, activists outlined three progressive expectations for his 2012 re-election public campaign messages and Global Warming Policy:
- The indisputable urgency to act on global warming based on science. President Obama must spell out the scientific prognosis (link) for the planet, and convey the urgency of acting decisively. Clean Energy Action Plans such as those presented by the Union of Concerned Scientists (link) and the Rocky Mountain Institute (link) should be considered.
- The president must put a complete stop to the Keystone pipeline (link) regardless of its route, as well as reject all further tar sands projects (link).
- We look to the President to oppose all forms of extreme energy extraction such as natural gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking) (link), mountain top removal (link), and deepwater offshore oil drilling projects. Such energy extractions carry enormous environmental and financial costs that the world can simply no longer afford.
“If we refuse to take into account the full costs of our fossil fuel addiction — if we don’t factor in the environmental costs and the national security costs and the true economic costs — we will have missed our best chance to seize a clean energy future.” –President Obama
Our Collective Voice is Loud
If the president takes these courageous steps to address the most important issue, Tar Sands Action promises to mobilize the base. Our involvement and influence among the environmental movement is strong and far reaching. As the president said “Change doesn’t come from the White House it comes to the White House.” We at Tar Sands Action agree.
We presented over three hundred signed declarations of contingent support, collected in a few days, from concerned citizens in the region. On November 6th, 12,000 citizens locked arms around the White House. We held a solidarity march that day through downtown Los Angeles (link) with over one hundred people joining. Simultaneously, political events such as Governor Martin O’Malley reversing his position on fracking in the Delaware River, issuing an order to review the entire process speaks to our concerns being heard. As well, the continued protests and peaceful disobedience in cities across the world with the Occupy Movement illustrates our voices must be heeded.
We appreciate the opportunity to be heard by the OFA staff and to participate in the decision making regarding the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama said himself weeks ago regarding the pipeline:
“The final decision should be guided by an open, transparent process that is informed by the best available science and the voices of the American people.”
Therefore, the decision about rerouting the pipeline should be clear – as the science on this matter is indisputable and citizens of the USA have already spoken. The people have demanded a change. The change the president promised us in July 2008 saying:
We look forward to continuing the discussion with the Obama Campaign.
We Of The Earth pledge to defend the rights of our home against the erosion of spirit that pollutes and defiles her bounty.
Tar Sands Action – Los Angeles is the voice of the people of southern California raised in bold opposition against the proposed Tar Sands XL Pipeline, destined to impair a livable future and certain to harm our planet.
Earth is home. Earth gives, so we may live, so all creatures may live. Her song is the branch that aches for the gold of our sun; her voice is the last of the breaking waves. Yet, the time is now where the gift of Earth is marred by the avarice of men. In these times, we who belong to the tribe of Earth must become her voice, her song.
Piece composed as a collaboration between Tar Sands Action Los Angeles members Jessica Aldridge, Rosemary Alles, Hale Anderson, Jack Eidt, John Forney, and Jim Waterhouse.