Re: [Bozeman-Climate-Alliance] Keystone XL Pipeline

From: Kristen W.
Sent on: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 8:45 PM
McKenzie,
I think Steve from MEIC suggested they would sue. I think the wind has died down only because the media is not covering anything, hence the effectiveness of the ring around the White House. We have to put out the energy to keep it in the public eye. Most people have no clue anything is happening. I sat next to an official from the Census Bureau who had no clue. People out east are only hearing about how great the jobs are with fracking.
Actually, US fracking NG must be really changing the economic equation.
I think we should continue to look for media opportunities.
Kristen
From: McKenzie Ball <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, October 19,[masked]:48 PM
Subject: [Bozeman-Climate-Alliance] Keystone XL Pipeline


Hi Everyone!
 
I'm sending this out as a little update and my own observations on the Keystone XL pipeline battle. At last weeks's meeting we briefly discussed the XL pipeline  situation and threw some ideas around as to whether we as a group here in Bozeman have any further opportunity to organize or demonstrate against Keystone XL. 
 
It wouldn’t be fair to say that all momentum for stopping the pipeline has dissipated, but in the last few weeks since the State Department Hearings concluded there has definitely been a certain air of defeatist acceptance that it is a done deal. Indeed it does seem plausible that it was approved months or even years ago behind closed doors. While this may or may not be true, I think it is important to continue to encourage individuals to take action personally and keep the pressure on. I’ve personally never been one for letter writing or phone calls to elected officials, but they are still required to record public input and opinion. I would like to see the public input numbers for support and opposition from state and federal officials. In a recent poll by The National Journal, 70% of respondents replied that they felt Obama would approve the pipeline by the end of the year. So essentially not only is it appearing to be a done deal, it is appearing that way to an overwhelming majority of Americans. This is likely feeding the decline of momentum. In addition the major groups opposing the pipeline have slowed down their campaign considerably.
 
Bill McKibben from 350.org and tarsandsaction.org has organized a massive demonstration on November 6th 2011, exactly one year before the presidential election. The demonstration is again centric to DC and does not have a formal plan for national actions or local actions along the pipeline route, or in the states through which it will pass. The demonstrators plan to fully surround the White House with a human chain in an act of civil disobedience. While this is a symbolically powerful action, it will likely do nothing to change Obama’s decision on the pipeline certainly will not do anything to physically impede its completion.
 
The only national action still going on across the nation with 350.org is the campaign to confront Obama with demonstrations at all of his speaking engagements. While this will likely not influence him any more than 1000s of people holding hands around his house, It is still an effective way to be there every where he turns. Unfortunately he has no scheduled engagements before years end here, so that sort of leaves us out. I was recently called by an Obama organizer and politely told them that I would not be supporting Obama in 2012 if he allows the construction of the XL Pipeline to go through. Although there are other issues that have already sealed my personal choice to not vote for him, I think it may be an effective way to put pressure on the campaign and let the organizers know that the environmental movement has not just “gone away” in the last 3 years. If he wants to play politics with our futures, lets play back. I encourage people to play the same hand when talking to Obama organizers. Perhaps the opinions of millions of his citizens is not enough to sway him, but if he sees the decision to approve Keystone XL as detrimental to his bid for reelection he may pay more attention. Other than that I am pretty resigned to the fact that the pipeline will go in, without further scrutiny or regulation and it will be business as usual.
 
This leads me to the conclusion that direct non-violent civil disobedience along the pipeline route may be an appropriate approach once the dirty thing is officially approved. I guess that falls more into the realm of planning and taking appropriate action when the opportunity presents itself.
 
On October 5th 3 environmental groups sued the state department for evidence that Trans Canada had already begun construction on portions of the pipeline, before approval was given. The lawsuit accuses the State Department public opinion process of being a complete sham and accuses them of allowing an international company to violate international treaties. This lawsuit has the possibility of giving more time for people to effectively organize a larger and more extensive opposition campaign against the pipeline, but in all likelihood will not change the outcome…
 
On an ending note I apologize for my own sense of pessimism. I'm leaning towards the approach that our efforts and energy could be better put towards things in our own community. We still need to continue to speak out against this pipeline and tar sands development and remain resolute in our opposition. I do believe that we need to be active in any way we can, but in this fight time seems to be the one thing we are desperately short of. We do not effectively have enough time to organize a new campaign before year's end. My hope is that the national campaigns currently going will be able to expand their vision beyond Washington DC and back to the communities and regions through which this menace will pass.  If you have any ideas or thoughts on what we can or should do, please write them down and bring them to tonight’s meeting. Ill see ya there!
 
McKenzie
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McKenzie Ball
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