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Dozens Arrested as Keystone XL Protests Erupt Across the U.S.

Energy
Dozens Arrested as Keystone XL Protests Erupt Across the U.S.

Tar Sands Blockade

One month after the largest climate rally in U.S. history urging President Obama to deny the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline’s northern segment, protesters in dozens of cities throughout the U.S. are confronting Keystone XL's corporate backers directly.

Thirty-seven have been arrested over the last 10 days for disrupting business as usual at TransCanada and their investors’ offices, with more actions planned over the next couple of days.

The March 16-23 Week of Action to Stop Tar Sands Profiteers, in solidarity with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance’s Direct Action Camp in Ponca City, Oklahoma, is endorsed by more than 50 grassroots environmental organizations around the country. Organizers seek to expose green-washed corporations like TD Bank, a top shareholder in TransCanada, and force them to divest from the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

“Its encouraging to see people around the country taking action to stop tar sands profiteers,” said Ron Seifert, spokesperson for Tar Sands Blockade. “No longer will we allow them to build Keystone XL and invest in toxic projects that endanger the health of low-income and communities of color. We will not allow 'business as usual' to continue.”

Here are a few highlights from this week:

Religiously and spiritually rooted Americans of all traditions gathered yesterday at the White House to make clear to President Obama that addressing climate change is a moral imperative and that delivering on his inspired State of the Union pledge will require bold actions, including rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Further, Interfaith Moral Action on Climate Change urges President Obama to lead Americans away from reliance on the dirty fossils fuels that drive climate change and transition us to a renewable energy economy. The risk of inaction is so great that some Interfaith Moral Action on Climate Change members felt morally compelled to engage in peaceful civil disobedience, leading to their arrest.

Religiously and spiritually rooted Americans of all traditions gathered on March 21 at the White House to make clear to President Obama that addressing climate change is a moral imperative and that delivering on his inspired State of the Union pledge will require bold actions, including rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Photo credit: John Zangas

Check www.tarsandsblockade.org for live updates from actions across the country.

Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.

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A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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