The efforts to stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline now include the efforts of 145 people who were campaign workers for Barack Obama, and ten Nobel Laureates. That’s some powerful pushing, if in the case of each of these efforts, done politely.
First, the former OFA campaign workers:
The group of former Obama campaign workers, most from 2012, have signed a letter calling on the president to reject the controversial oil pipeline, one of the few issues — before the arrival of Edward Snowden — that has led to widespread protest of the White House by the left.
Obama has steadfastly refused to say whether he will approve Keystone, with White House officials regularly noting the State Department is still reviewing the potential environmental impact of the project.
The letter writing effort was organized by various environmental groups, including 350.org and the Energy Action Coalition.
From the letter:
On November 7th, the day after Election Day, we took a break from entering last-minute data or cleaning our OFA field offices and crowded around iPhones and laptops to listen to you talk. … You told us on the phone that day, ‘When I was your age, I had this vague inkling about making a difference, but I didn’t know how to do it…I ended up becoming a community organizer.’ So did we.
It’s in that spirit that we write to ask you to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. …
You already know all the reasons we can’t afford this pipeline – that it will lock in gigatons of carbon pollution over the next four decades and that it could spill into our nation’s most valuable water sources – we’re just asking you to think of us when you make up your mind.
For so long you have been the source of our hope and inspiration. Please don’t disappoint us. Reject Keystone XL.
From The Hill, a report that includes a related press conference which occurred today in DC:
The message (in the letter) comes as green groups and billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer are intensifying their pressure campaign against the proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline.
Steyer on Thursday announced the launch of a social media campaign that aims to provide a ‘backbone’ for Keystone opponents to communicate with each other and raise their concerns. He rejected the idea that Obama’s forthcoming climate change plan could offer wiggle room for approving Keystone.
‘It’s very hard to be a hero and speak up on what he describes as being the biggest challenge facing the world and then do something that’s contradictory to that in a major way when everyone all over the world is paying attention,’ Steyer told reporters in Washington.
And now, from an international perspective (and there is a lot of international attention given KXL), Nobel Laureates call on President Obama and Secretary Kerry to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
Ten recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize have written to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry urging the rejection of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.
The Laureates, many of whom urged the President to reject the pipeline in 2011, believe that now is the time for leadership by the United States on climate change. The rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline is a critical step in limiting the expansion of the Canadian oil sands—Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution. The oil sands also have devastating impacts on local land, water, air, and communities.
The letter reminds the President and Secretary of State that, ‘Climate change threatens all of us, but it is the world’s most vulnerable who are already paying for developed countries’ failure to act with their lives and livelihoods. … Inaction will cost hundreds of millions of lives—and the death toll will only continue to rise.’
The letter goes on to say that, ‘as leaders who have spoken out strongly on these issues, we urge you, once again, to be on the right side of history and send a clear message that you are serious about moving beyond dirty oil towards the safe, clean and renewable energy future that the world deserves.’
The letter is signed by Peace Laureates: Mairead Maguire (1976), Ireland; Betty Williams (1976), Ireland; Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984), South Africa; Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (1980), Argentina; Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1992), Guatemala; José Ramos Horta (1996), East Timor; Jody Williams (1997), USA; Shirin Ebadi (2003), Iran; Tawakkol Karman (2011), Yemen; Leymah Gbowee (2011), Liberia.
From people who are writing “the man who inspired us to leave our homes and give every last ounce of energy to re-elect our President,” to ten Nobel Peace Laureates, to a “billionaire climate activist,” to large and small environmental / climate change activists, like Tar Sand Blockade; 350.org; EcoWatch; Energy Action Coalition; Fearless Summer; Friends of the Earth; Inside Climate News; Occupy the Pipeline; Oil Change International; Rising Tide North America; Natural Resources Defense Council; BOLD Nebraska, and more … President Obama can’t fail to hear the very strong concerns. Whether his decision regarding KXL is finally informed by these voices, or those from the petroleum industry, will help define his presidency.
(Keystone No Tar Sands Sign via Tar Sands Blockade)