Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Unity Matters: Senate Flooded With Petitions Opposing Keystone XL

As Senate Republicans tried to revive the Keystone XL pipeline by adding it to the transportation bill, a petition drive was launched on Monday by every major environmental group, with the expressed goal of sending a half-million messages to the Senate within 24 hours which stated:  " Don't allow 'game over' for the climate.  Block any efforts to revive the dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline."

The 500,000th signature opposing the pipeline was obtained within 7 hours, and a total of 800,000 flooded the Senate by day's end.  As founder Bill McKibben said:
The last 24 hours were the most concentrated blitz of environmental organizing since the start of the digital age. Over 800,000 Americans made it clear that Keystone XL is the environmental litmus test for Senators and every other politician in the country. It's the one issue where people have come out in large numbers to put their bodies on the line, and online too: the largest civil disobedience action on any issue in 30 years, and now the most concentrated burst of environmental advocacy perhaps since the battles over flooding the Grand Canyon back in the glory days.
In an article for Huffington Post, McKibben noted that this was the third event to raise the Keystone XL controversy to the central environmental issue in the country.  The first was last August, "when the largest civil disobedience action in 30 years saw 1,253 people arrested outside the White House."  The second action took place in November, with "over 12,000 surrounded the president's house five deep, leading the president to slow down the permitting process."  And now this.

McKibben relates the essential lesson from this latest experience:
Unity matters -- how wonderful to see the leaders of every environmental group on the same page, and progressive communities like Political Action and CREDO Mobile joining in to help. And more important, a big swath of the American people remain deeply committed to a world that works. Right now Keystone is the battle that defines that hope -- we'll do our best to see that our "leaders" don't quash it.


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