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Help Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

Help Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

Ted Glick

On Sunday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. in Washington, D.C., the U.S. climate movement will stage the largest and most important demonstration ever held.

On that day thousands of people will peacefully use their bodies to literally encircle the White House. Together, hand in hand, we will create an audacious ring of hope to call upon President Barack Obama to follow through on his 2008 call for us to be "the generation that ends the tyranny of oil." Obama can and must be true to his words by rejecting the permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

More than 5,000 people have already signed up to attend, and the momentum continues to build. This is truly an all-hands-on-deck moment.

Why is this action so critical? By the end of November it will be legally possible for the Obama administration to either approve or reject a proposal from the Canadian company Transcanada to build the 1,700 mile long Keystone XL pipeline. This pipeline would connect the Alberta tar sands to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. It would allow for a massive expansion of the destruction of the boreal forests and the strip mining for the tar sands oil that is decimating that area.

Leading climate scientist James Hansen has said that if the tar sands are fully exploited, it's "game over" for any chance of avoiding worldwide, catastrophic impacts because of global heating.

Much of the refined oil would be exported for use in other countries. Studies have indicated that the long-term impact of building the pipeline would increase gasoline prices in the U.S.

This project stinks the way that oil stinks. The State Department is the government agency which has been doing official environmental impact studies, but it turns out that Transcanada's top lobbyist, Paul Elliot, used to be Hillary Clinton's deputy campaign manager for her 2008 Presidential campaign. Documents uncovered by Friends of the Earth show that there was plenty of behind-the-scenes communication between him and State Department officials working together to try to get this pipeline approved. And a company, Cardno Entrix, for which Transcanada has been a "major client" in the past, was actually chosen by the State Department to play a central role in the development of the environmental impact statements.

We are taking action on Nov. 6 because it’s exactly one year before the 2012 election, and we want to remind Obama of what he promised us in 2008. Nov. 6 will be a pivotal, culminating moment in our historic tar sands campaign. That campaign began Aug. 20 when the first of 1,253 people were peacefully arrested at the White House to put the Keystone XL issue on the national political map. Now it’s time to go back to the White House to close the deal.

Mother Earth and its people have never needed our help more than right now. Sign up to be part of this action at tarsandsaction.org. We can win this battle.

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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